In his latest blog post, Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo reflects on his performance in Hungary and rather reluctantly looks forward to the summer break.
Wow, Hungary was hot. I think that’s undoubtedly the hottest race of the year so far. You’d expect Malaysia to take the prize for that but the rain actually cooled things down in Sepang.
I definitely feel this level of heat and humidity. Even on a winter's day in Barcelona it can get baking hot inside your overalls when you’re sitting in the cockpit on a long run, because the car radiates huge amounts of heat from the engine, the tyres, the brakes, etc. But there’s definitely more heat with the sort of weather we had at the weekend. The positive thing is that I was still pumping out decent times at the end of the race, relative to what I’d been doing earlier.
I think the race itself was okay. The result wasn’t great, but we finished where we realistically expected to. We knew it would take something a little special to get up there with our rivals because we’ve been lacking pace for a few rounds. But on a high downforce circuit like the Hungaroring, that sort of thing wasn’t likely to happen.
We struggled on Friday, but we closed the gap on Saturday. It wasn't enough to change our position, but it certainly got us closer to the top 10. I wasn’t too happy with qualifying, but things improved in the race. The start was okay. I got around Kobayashi and Jean-Eric into turn one, and then set about trying to stay with Di Resta. It turns out I didn’t have the pace and as he pulled away I drove a pretty lonely first stint.
Later on, I had a good tussle with Pérez. He had the faster car but we had a bit of life left in our tyres and we were able to hold him off, which was good. I don’t think we could really have done much more than we did. The pit stops were good, the start was good – they're the boxes we needed to tick.
We’re doing some promotional filming this week at Imola for our sponsors. It’s quite limited running – I think we’re only allowed 100km over the two days – but it’s pretty cool nonetheless to go to a circuit with so much history. Once we’re finished, then the summer shutdown begins.
I’m not sure what I think about that. Obviously the team’s been on the road for six months (counting the pre-season tests in Spain) and everyone needs (and deserves) a break. But as a driver… well, it’s a little different, isn’t it? I’m here to race. I love racing and I don’t think I’d be massively fazed if we were on our way to another grand prix right now.
That said, considering what’s lined up for the second half of the season and particularly the number of flyaways, if we’re going to have a break, now’s the time to have it. I’m going to take a holiday next week, but I’ll stay in Europe. I’m not going home because we’ll be doing more than enough flying in the next few months, so I don’t really need to add another long-haul trip to the schedule right now.
For me a holiday means not training for a week or so. That doesn’t mean I’ll be slouching on the sofa eating KFC and watching movies all day (fun though that is), it just means that I won't be doing strict physical activity. I’ll play some tennis, go mountain biking, fun stuff like that. But I might not be hitting the weights.
I’ll start ramping it back up again in preparation for Spa around August 10. Before then I’ll find somewhere with a beach and some water. I need to cool off!
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