Daniel Ricciardo: “The Italian fans are passionate”

Daniel Ricciardo feels the atmosphere around the Autodromo Nazionale Monza is unique as the Formula 1 circus arrives in Italy for round twelve of the season.

The Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver feels the Tifosi are amongst the most passionate fans as they support their beloved Scuderia Ferrari team, with the Australian looking to get his season back on track after a retirement in Belgium two weeks ago.

“It’s the only circuit where you expect to be driving through flares!” revealed Ricciardo. “We had that on the warm-up last year, massive cloud of red smoke at the second Lesmo. Pretty different – but I like that.

“The Italian fans are passionate – some might say crazy – and you’ll really get your fill of atmosphere. The drivers’ parade is special: they’ll all be there with their shirts off, yelling ‘Forza Ferrari’. It’s a laugh.”

Ricciardo feels the nature of the Monza circuit allows a driver the opportunity to relax, especially down the long straights, but believes this can actually be a bad thing on a circuit where braking is all-important.

“If you need a breather, there’s plenty of long straights where you can take one,” said Ricciardo. “Actually that can be a bit of a problem because it really isn’t a circuit where you want to lose focus.

“You’re coming into very heavy braking zones at very high speed and you can’t afford to lock-up or lose time by braking too early. You have to be very switched on.

“Braking has become the biggest thing at Monza. It has been since they’ve made the chicane kerbs too high to ride in an F1 car. It’s very tricky to get that right.

“You’re coming down to the first chicane at your highest speed of the year and braking for what is almost the tightest corner in F1, with the least amount of downforce. The car starts to slide around and becomes quite tricky, so getting the braking right is key. It’s really good too…”