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- Updated: February 20, 2018
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has claimed that he needs to focus more on driving through problems in the upcoming season rather than trying to perfect his set-ups.
Ricciardo did manage to end ahead of teammate Max Verstappen in 2017 drivers’ standings, but the young Dutchman had the stronger qualifying record and was ahead in five of the seven grands prix where they both finished.
Ricciardo was clear about the fact that the aerodynamic rules changes and wider tyres for 2017 made the cars “trickier to understand, trickier to find the right formula” and said that in retrospect, he faltered because he was trying too hard to solve problems with set-up changes.
“In the past, I feel some of my strength has been my ability to feel the car,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com. “I’m quite sensitive to things and therefore in the past it’s been good for tyre management.
“Sometimes it’s to my detriment, where I would probably be better off driving through something as opposed to being ‘oh, we need to change that or change that’.
“I feel I have learned a bit as well. Sometimes just throw the book out the window and drive it.”
He said that the problems were more due to Pirelli’s tyre changes than a new car.
“These tyres behave so differently to all different types of surfaces,” Ricciardo explained.
“On a smooth surface they slide a lot and I think a lot of the time, I have got to acknowledge the car is not going to be perfect.
“It’s low grip, the tyre is quite slow at warming up, so it’s going to slide, it’s going to feel a bit of a handful.
“Just go out there and it’s not going to be perfect but just do what you’ve got with what you’ve got. Maybe sometimes I’ll try and set up the car and try and fix it when it’s never really going to be fixed.
“Maybe sticking with one set-up for longer in the weekend and learning how to drive that set-up the best [would be better].
“There are a few times we’ve got a little bit lost and changed too many things. It’s also natural because you want a better car – ‘it’s understeering here so let’s try and fix that’.
“It then creates another problem and you just end up in a bit of a vicious cycle.”
On if he could change his current driving style and combat these problems, he said, “I wouldn’t call it a comfort zone, because I feel I’ve always been able to adapt to situations.
“It’s more broadening my window, just being a bit more open-minded.”