Australia’s latest F1 debutante Daniel Ricciardo has described himself as “quite pleased” with how his race debut at last weekend’s British Grand Prix went, with the 22-year-old having already declared he is ready to start “moving forward” in the upcoming German Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was a sudden signing to Hispania Racing in place of Narain Karthikeyan, and he brought the Cosworth-powered F111 to the finish of the race at Silverstone, three laps adrift and in 19th place, having had no pre-race testing mileage with which to adapt to the unfamiliar car.
“I feel quite good to finish and see the chequered flag. It was nice to get the laps, which I think was the most important thing for me today for experience,” he told reports in the wake of Sunday’s race. “Understanding the tyres, the pit stops and the strategy, it’s really very complex and something I’ve never really done before, so in this respect I think it was a step forward.”
“I was quite a bit off [the pace of] the other competitors but I think that, as I learn, I will get a bit closer,” he added. “I also need to try and manage the blue flags a bit better, it’s not easy. At the end, looking at it now, I’m quite pleased with the result.”
The rookie driver managed to out-pace his vastly more experienced team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi in one of the practice sessions during the Grand Prix weekend, and Ricciardo has his sights set on closing the gap to his team-mate in the coming races.
“My expectations for the next race are to learn and move forward, to be a bit closer to Tonio in qualifying and to try and close the gap in the race, I think that is a good target for now.”
Certainly HRT team boss Colin Kolles was feeling “quite positive” about the youngster’s F1 debut, adding that he struggled to manage tyre wear during the longer stints.
“Daniel was struggling a little bit with the rear tyres towards the end and therefore lost a little bit of ground on Tonio and the others. But, all in all, it was quite positive with no major dramas,” Kolles added.
“Daniel did his laps and finished the race, his quickest lap time was quite a good one.”
[Images via Sutton Images]