Last week I talked a little about how my experience racing last year would now start to be useful as we go back to the circuits where I’ve already driven in a grand prix. Well that theory grinds to a halt pretty much straight away as obviously we weren’t at Hockenheim last year.
I have been here before though, and as a circuit it’s been pretty good to me. I had a second place racing here in Formula 3 and I won in the World Series by Renault. I’m not sure whether it’s going to suit Toro Rosso this weekend: we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s quite a short track but it’s one of those with a little bit of everything: the first half of the lap has some quick straights and a heavy braking zone at the hairpin, then you have the tight, twisty stuff in the last sector with some direction changes. There’s a quick right coming into the stadium section and then you throw it into a left: you need a bit of downforce there.
'You need big balls through the fast Turn One'
I don’t think the track asks particularly big questions of the driver. You need big balls through the fast Turn One and the right-hander into the stadium – but that’s largely about having the confidence in the car to get you through those corners quickly. The other thing you need is good stability under the heavy braking for the hairpin. All in all it’s a balancing act. You’d like to have the downforce for the stadium and to keep it steady on the brakes but equally you don’t want too much drag on the straights.
The racing between JEV and myself has been quite close in recent races, which is pretty exciting. It is slightly different when you’re racing your team-mate, but obviously if we’re running different strategies we won’t get in each other’s way – that’s the responsible way for team-mates to act. Sometimes I’ll get the message ‘you’re racing JEV, this is for position’, when that happens you go at it hard… but maybe you keep a little in reserve. The guy you really don’t want to hit is your team-mate but so far, so good.
'Obviously at some point I’d like to drive that [Red Bull Racing] car'
Obviously the big news in the last week has been Mark Webber signing up to 2013 over at Red Bull Racing. I’ve been asked a couple of times what it means for Jean-Eric and myself. To be perfectly honest it isn’t something that has an impact. Mark continuing to drive the Red Bull Racing car seems normal; it’s what you expect to see, isn’t it? Obviously at some point I’d like to drive that car, I think most of the grid would probably say the same, but it wasn’t on the radar at the moment, so I don’t feel I’ve missed out. I’d like to think about driving for Red Bull Racing as something to aspire to for the future but for the moment we’ve got quite a bit of work to do here at Toro Rosso.
- Visit the official Formula 1 website
- Search for Formula 1 videos on YouTube
- Read more blogs from Daniel Ricciardo