Daniel Ricciardo says that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing must find consistency to match the potential of the RB14.
Ricciardo finished fifth in an uneventful Spanish Grand Prix, 50 seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton – suffering an inconsequential spin under the Virtual Safety Car, only costing him time to fourth placed man Sebastian Vettel.
“It was certainly a strange race,” said Ricciardo. “At the beginning we had good pace and it seemed like Kimi [Räikkönen] was a bit slower than Max [Verstappen, Red Bull team-mate] and myself.
“I thought I was faster than them but then once they picked up the pace I wasn’t really able to go with them.”
Ricciardo’s pleas for Verstappen to move to one side were ignored by the Red Bull pitwall and whilst he mingled with the front-runners before his sole pitstop, the Australian failed to mount a true threat despite lowering the track record at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya several times in the second half of the race.
He bemoaned traffic after his stop for medium compound tyres on lap 34 and explained that his spin was a result of falling tyre temperatures. Pirelli introduced a tyre with a minor tread reduction – of 0.4mm – for the resurfaced track, something that Vettel believes helped Red Bull and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
“When we pitted for the medium tyre we came out in traffic and lost some rhythm,” he added. “I also had a spin on the [Virtual Safety Car] restart, struggling to keep heat in the tyres, which really put me out of the race.
“Fortunately there were no walls but it put me in no-man’s land. There were moments where the car was really fast but it was just too difficult to get it every lap. I would set the fastest lap and then the next lap I would nearly spin.”
Ricciardo concluded by saying that the RB14 has “potential”, but finding consistency is proving troublesome. The 28-year-old said that Red Bull are still learning about their package and is hopeful for the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, believing that it should be the team “strongest circuit” in the early stages of 2018.
“There is potential but it’s just hard to extract consistently at the moment, so we have some more to learn with this new package.
“In the end, it was a pretty boring race but I’m going to take some positives from the potential we have. Monaco should be our strongest circuit to date on raw pace so I’m looking forward to getting there in a few weeks.”
Ricciardo sits fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, 48 points behind leader Hamilton.