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Chinese Grand Prix: The Squeezed Middle | Daniel Ricciardo blog

Daniel-Ricciardo-prepares-f.jpg Daniel Ricciardo (© Red Bull Photofiles)

After a couple of weeks’ rest and relaxation (without the rest) at home in Perth, Daniel Ricciardo arrives in China keen to get started at the Shanghai International Circuit...

With a couple of races behind us, what’s striking about this F1 season so far is how everything is so very close. I think it’s going to be a season where making a mistake of any sort at any time is going to cost you three or four places. But, equally, if you put everything together then you’re going to get a real advantage. In many ways, it’s like being back in the junior categories - it’s good, it’s how racing should be. I hope it’s going to stay like this for the rest of the year.

On reflection, the result in Malaysia was a little bit weird. Obviously we look at Sauber as a competitor and I don’t think anyone expected Sergio Pérez to be on the podium – but then again I don’t think anyone expected Alonso to win either. When it rains that can happen, and it really rained at Sepang. It’s good to see Sauber doing so well, as much as I’d have loved it to be me it’s still pleasing to see: I think it gives us hope. Another small team like ourselves – small compared to the McLarens and the Red Bulls – gives us hope that if we’re driving well and everything falls into place then maybe there’s a podium out there.

nullDaniel Ricciardo (© Red Bull Photofiles) 
As a circuit, Shanghai isn’t so different to Malaysia. Sepang has a few more high-speed corners but the layout and therefore the setups are not that different. Of course, the real game changer in Malaysia was the weather. We’re predicting a bit of rain here tomorrow and maybe some more on Sunday but I don’t think it’ll be anything like what we had a couple of weeks ago. It’ll be a little easier to know which tyres to use and when to pit.
 
I’ve driven on this circuit twice before: last year in FP1 for Toro Rosso and with Formula BMW in 2006. It’s a very open, very wide circuit and not really the sort of thing I like, I’d rather have something tighter. It does have some corners with a good flow and the middle sector is a lot of fun. The long straight is very long, so if you’re on your own it’s pretty boring but it’s good for overtaking if you’re not.
 
nullDaniel Ricciardo (© Red Bull Photofiles)
Obviously Jean-Eric had a better weekend than I did in Malaysia and I want to get back on top here. All in all, I’m coming into the weekend feeling pretty well prepared, having spent the last two weeks in Perth. I did some good work with Paul, my trainer, and generally just enjoyed being outside. We don’t get to do much training outdoors in England at the moment, so being in Australia made a pleasant change to the routine. I don’t get to go home at this time of year very often, so I very much appreciated it.
 
People ask why I still live in England rather than in Italy but it’s good to be near the simulator in Milton Keynes as I’m in there quite a lot in between the races. If I didn’t live there I’d be travelling every week, so doing it this way around actually makes more sense. Besides, England’s okay, I’ve been there a while now and I’m used to the weather - though when the time comes to retire I’m definitely heading home to the sunshine! 
 

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