Heading into this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo has endured both highs and lows at the Baku City Circuit, with the Australian winning the Grand Prix whilst a Red Bull Racing driver back in 2017 but crashing out of the 2018 event after a collision with his then team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Renault F1 Team driver feels the track is like nothing else they race on all year long due to the many places drivers can overtake, while the low downforce setting on the street track makes it feel like a low grip circuit.
“Baku is a unique circuit, different to other street circuits we race on, because there are a lot of places to overtake,” said Ricciardo. “Baku has been interesting for me; I’ve had high points, like the crazy win in 2017, and also some low points like last season.
“2017 was a wild race, it was like we were karting and all of us were kids again. There are some things in Baku, which future circuits could replicate. The long, winding straight lends itself to massive slip-streaming and close racing.
“It’s a low downforce setting on the car, making it a low grip circuit.”
Ricciardo was pleased to secure his first points of the season last time out in the Chinese Grand Prix, despite struggling towards the end of the race having gambled on pitting just the once.
Whereas the majority of the field hit pit lane at least twice, Ricciardo was one of a handful of drivers to gamble on just the one trip there, which helped him finish an excellent seventh, the best of the rest behind the three top teams.
It was Ricciardo’s first points for his new employers having retired from the opening two races of the year in Australia and Bahrain, and the Australian was pleased to have a solid weekend that brought improvements every time he hit the Shanghai International Circuit.
“It was good to get points on the board with the team in China and get ourselves up and running,” said Ricciardo. “We built up nicely over the weekend, starting with a solid day’s practice, followed by improvements every time I stepped in the car all the way up to qualifying.
“The race was a challenge, managing a tough one-stop, but we made that work and there’s a lot of positives to draw from that. We know we have a lot to do if we’re to keep up the improvements, but we’ll keep digging away.”