Daniel Ricciardo: “I didn’t get as much of a fight as I would have liked”

Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer RB13 - Russian GP. Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo did not get to enjoy much of the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, having developed a right rear brake issue five laps into the race.

Smoke could be seen billowing from the back of the RB13 as the brake caught fire, forcing the Australian to slowly make his way back to the pits for his engineers to evaluate the damage.

“The start felt pretty good initially, I seemed to get away quicker than the guys in front which backed me up and meant I lost momentum. I was then a bit of a sitting duck on the outside line losing track position but it looked like it would be a good battle from there.

“After the safety car I looked in my mirror to see where the Force India was and I noticed that the right rear brake was on fire, I reported it to the team and they told me to bring the car back to the pits slowly.

It was bad news for Ricciardo however, as the problem was unable to be resolved and the only option left was for the Aussie to retire from the grand prix. The issue is believed to be similar to that suffered by team-mate Max Verstappen at the Bahrain Grand Prix, though not exactly the same, and will now be thoroughly investigated.

“Unfortunately the issue could not be fixed and I had to retire from the race. It was early in the race so I don’t know how much the safety car and two starts impacted us, but the team will obviously investigate that.”

Being unable to take part in the action was a big let down for Ricciardo, having gotten himself pumped up for a tasty battle on track, and despite Red Bull’s clear lack of pace compared to front runners Scuderia Ferrari and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, the Australian was ready to take the fight to them.

“It’s frustrating, on a Sunday you just build up for the race and try to store up your adrenaline to use at 3pm but today it was over very quickly and unfortunately I didn’t get as much of a fight as I would have liked.”

As we head to the Spanish Grand Prix and the first race of the European leg of the season in two weeks’ time, big updates are due for all teams, Red Bull included, but whether the Milton Keynes based squad can bridge the gap to the top two with their improvements, will only be known once they hit the track in Barcelona.

“We don’t know how much the new package will give us until we get it on track in a few weeks but we are hoping Barcelona is the first step to getting closer to the leaders.”