Daniel Ricciardo heads to the Spanish Grand Prix feeling the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is amongst the best on the calendar as the layout offers a whole range of challenges on every lap.
The Red Bull Racing driver is also happy that his team can bring its Energy Station trackside for the first time in 2017, with the first four races being flyaway events in Australia, China, Bahrain and Russia, the Spanish circuit offering the opportunity for more privacy and better availability for training equipment.
“Barcelona is one of the better circuits on the calendar and it’s got a bit of everything,” said Ricciardo. “Turns 1, 2 and 3 are really good flowing corners and the last section is very technical. The end of the lap is quite slow and that’s where your tyres start to drop off which is why it’s really hard to finish the lap clean.
“We’ll have the Energy Station back in Barcelona so that’s nice and it’ll be an easier environment to prepare in. We’ve got it now for a few months and that means that we can actually put some things in our room that we can come back to. Little things that give us privacy and that home feeling like favourite snacks, training equipment or our own shower.”
Ricciardo is hopeful that the planned upgrade Red Bull Racing are aiming to bring to Spain enables them to close the rather large gap between them and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari in 2017, with only the unsettled weather in China offering a chance for Red Bull to fight with those two teams ahead of them so far this season.
“I hope the upgrade will give us a chance to really fight with Mercedes and Ferrari or at least get us closer,” said Ricciardo. “The reason why it comes in Barcelona is that we put everything back in the factory were very busy so now I hope that it’s a quicker improvement.
“It means that the people who do the work behind the scenes get their reward as well. It’s a good feeling for everyone when these upgrades work.”
Ricciardo does not believe that Pirelli’s decision to bring the hardest compound of tyre available to Spain will be beneficial for any of the teams on the grid, especially if it is held in relatively cold conditions, and as such the softer two compounds are likely to be the favoured ones this weekend.
“We’re going for the harder tyres for the first time this year in Barcelona,” said Ricciardo. “I’m not sure if it’ll help us or not but I just don’t think it’s going to be good for anyone.
“The tyres are already hard enough so the harder compounds are just way too hard. Hopefully for Barcelona’s sake it’s hot and therefore these harder tyres work, but if it’s cold then it’s going to be a struggle for everyone