Daniel Ricciardo heads into his home Grand Prix in Australia ready for the new Formula 1 season, with the Red Bull Racing driver eager to get started after a more productive pre-season testing programme than twelve months ago.
The Australian starts his third season with the team in front of the enthusiastic fans of Albert Park, and is happy to get back into the sunshine after testing in the coolness of the Circuit de Catalunya during the pre-season.
“For me the favourite things about the Australian GP are first of all the fans,” said Ricciardo. “They’re pretty awesome, every day we go to the track we get a pretty big greeting from everyone and they are super enthusiastic, it’s cool!
“The track is fun, I love street circuits so for me Melbourne’s got really good flow, really good corner combinations, lots of left/right, left/rights which is cool. And I’m not a massive fan of the European winter so getting back to Oz, not only to race but just to get back to some sunshine is great.”
After last year’s mediocre pre-season, Ricciardo heads into the 2016 season with more confidence, and is ready to get racing in front of his home fans, although he does not know where Red Bull are compared to their rivals.
“Testing’s been a lot better for us this year,” said Ricciardo. “You still don’t really know where you are until you get to Melbourne, but we’re better prepared than we were this time last year so we can use that as some confidence.
“Me personally, I’m ready to go – I was ready in January and I’m still ready now! Just keen for those lights to go out and to get racing! I think everyone’s excited to get going, but even if the race was elsewhere I think there’s no-one more excited than me to go racing, period!
“But the fact that it’s in Oz and I’m going to have more supporters than anyone else, hell yeah I’m excited!”
Ricciardo admits he will need to keep his focus during the Grand Prix weekend with it being his home Grand Prix, and is looking forward to the battle ahead.
“In fact, I’m going to have to control my adrenaline because there’s a long build up over the weekend,” insisted the Australian. “Sunday’s cool, it’s probably the quietest day of the week for us in terms of other obligations so it’s really time to just focus on the race.
“When I’m on the grid on Sunday, it’ll just be full focus, full determination, knowing that I’ve got a battle on my hands the next hour and a half, a battle I’ll look forward to!”