If there is one track Daniel Ricciardo would like to see following the pit stop fracas that cost him a win in the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, it would be Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The 4.3-kilometre circuit is the sight of Ricciardo’s first Formula 1 victory, as he stormed past Nico Rosberg with two laps to go to take the flag.
Racing in special territory, the 27-year-old had hoped to use the Canadian Grand Prix as the starting point toward a successful summer stretch.
“I gave it a few days to cool off,” Ricciardo reflected on the preceding Monaco Grand Prix. “For me, its really important to execute a perfect weekend from my side and the team’s side and get back on track.
“I do believe that we will be the next ones in line behind Mercedes. Hopefully close enough to again put pressure on them and grab a win.”
Ending FP3 in sixth, Ricciardo continued the “steady” weekend in qualifying, as the Aussie ranked fourth with a 1:13.166. Despite coming up short to both Mercedes and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo placed ahead of teammate Max Verstappen for the first time of the weekend.
“This weekend was steady,” he said. “I think we just built up to it and found a better rhythm in qualifying.”
Though he felt smooth, the Wall of Champions in Turn 14 spelt drama, as the No. 3 car “kissed” the wall during in Q3.
“It felt like a pretty big kiss, actually,” he said. “As soon as I hit it, I thought – I had Carlos [Sainz, Jr.] in my head with what happend to him in Q2. So I was like ‘Please, just keep the wheels on the line.’
“In the end, I don’t think I lost too much from it because I think I carried so much speed into the corner that I probably gained in what I lost out.”
Next up was the race, 70 laps with a total of 980 combined corners on tap for Ricciardo and the rest of the grid.
But it only took one before the race took a different shade as Vettel blew to the lead off the line past the Mercedes’ while Ricciardo passed Nico Rosberg, who was forced off track in Turn 1.
As Verstappen found himself in the better lane, Ricciardo was stuck behind the tenacious teen throughout the opening run.
“We were definitely a lot quicker in clean air but we did struggle in traffic today,” he said.
A tyre lockup forced Ricciardo onto an additional pit stop, virtually ending his chances at a race win. To add salt to the wounds, the pit stop was slow after trouble getting the right-front tyre secured.
“I locked a brake into Turn 13 and damaged the second set of tyres I had,” he said. “And then a few of the pit stops and calls were a bit average again. We’ve got to clean some things up for Sundays.”
Coming home in the seventh spot as the last car on the lead lap, Ricciardo leaves Montreal with an overall solid feeling, as he believes the car was quick.
“I had pretty good speed, I would say, in the first stint on the Ultrasoft,” he said. “I thought we were using the tyres quite well, and I said on the radio I think I could be quicker in clean air.”
Images via Red Bull Racing