Toro Rosso

Hungarian Grand Prix | Daniel Ricciardo Blog | What do I know

Daniel Ricciardo Getty Images for Scuderia Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo tells us what to expect at the next F1 race at the Hungaroring, even if, by his own admission, he isn't always the best person to ask!

One of the more bizarre things an F1 driver has to do is finish a race and then go to the interview pen to talk about it. It’s difficult to be insightful because you’re one of the few people at the circuit who hasn’t watched and so doesn’t really know what’s gone on. Last weekend in Germany was a good example: I was hit at the start by Felipe Massa – but I didn’t know it until I watched it on TV later. In my mirrors at Turn Two I saw his Ferrari was missing a front wing. He locked up and I remember thinking ‘oh, please don’t hit me.’ I didn’t know he already had.

Fortunately it didn’t do us any damage and we were able to get on with our race. The start had been OK, we’d held position – which after a few races where we went backwards was a good thing – and the first few laps were a case of hanging in there. Hamilton’s problems got us up to 10th but eventually the Saubers and Rosberg all got past. It was a pretty tough race. And a lonely one too.

I think we put in a really good team performance to qualify as high as 11th but as is often the case in that situation, there’s a good chance you’re going to go backwards in the race. For me, and I assume most drivers, you think positive thoughts on Sunday morning and hope you’ll be able to hang on – but with the race being dry it was always going to be difficult to stay where we were or go forward. It’s a little bit frustrating but you do the best you can and try to get the best out of the car.

nullGetty Images for Scuderia Toro Rosso

Like most, we did a two-stop race in Germany but with hindsight a three-stopper might have been better. JEV was forced into that by a puncture and was right behind me at the end. Going by that and the rate we were burning tyres, if we did it again three stops would probably have been quicker – but because it was the first race at Hockenheim with the Pirellis, and with running in practice restricted because of the weather, nobody knew that. I don’t think it would have changed the result though: our pace was a bit off what we needed to get into the points.

I’ve said it before, but we could have done with some rain. I had been hoping qualifying would have been wetter than it eventually was. We’re comparatively faster on the extremes than on the inters, so in the gap between Q1 and Q2 I was hoping the drizzle would turn into a downpour so that we could start the session on the full wet tyres.

It’s a pretty exciting time in the garage when the weather is changing between the sessions. There’s frantic activity and it really fires up the emotions and the adrenaline. With the guys rushing around it tempts you into being a little more nervous than usual – though I’m pretty relaxed in those situations. I knew everyone would have been set up for slicks and have to make the change that we were making. Sometimes the thing to do it just close your eyes, block it out for a few seconds, and let it all go on around you.

Anyway, that’s done now and this week’s challenge is the Hungaroring. I’ve always enjoyed the circuit but because it’s so tight and twisty it’s maybe not ideal for the race. It’s one of those weird situations where the driving is very satisfying but the racing perhaps isn’t. I’ve gone well here in the past and won in Formula Renault and WSR, so I like it regardless.

I’m not sure if it’s going to suit us or not. The Hungaroring is basically Monaco without the walls. We’re hoping to have a package that will give us a bit more downforce than we had in Monaco – and hopefully there’s a good, strong race for us to have. Also, I hear there’s thunderstorms expected for Sunday. That should mix everything up a bit.

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