Daniel Ricciardo says he is looking forward to racing in warmer climates across the final three weekends of the season, starting this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The Renault DP World F1 Team driver says he has enjoyed trekking across autumnal Europe in recent weeks, but he now heads to the desert in Bahrain for round fifteen of the 2020 season aiming for a strong weekend around a track he has not had the best of luck on in the past.
“I’m looking forward to being back in the heat in Bahrain!” said Ricciardo. “I know we’ve been to some awesome tracks across Europe recently and whilst they’ve all been fun for various reasons, the weather has been too cold for me! I much prefer the heat and it’s still pretty warm in Bahrain during the evening, which is great.
“Two of the three practice sessions are during the day when it’s really hot and both qualifying and the race are in the evening when the circuit is a lot cooler. This does make preparing for this race a challenge and adapting to different set-ups is important.
“The Sakhir circuit in Bahrain is a good one, I’ve always enjoyed racing there and night sessions are always fun to take part in. In recent years, I haven’t had the best results in Bahrain, but I’m looking to set that right this weekend. There are some decent overtaking spots, especially Turn 1, which is probably the best place to attack.”
The Turkish Grand Prix two weeks ago was a difficult one for Ricciardo and for Renault, with only one point being scored by the Australian despite both he and team-mate Esteban Ocon qualifying inside the top seven.
“We had a difficult time last time out in Turkey, with the low levels of grip and wet weather making it a very unpredictable race,” said Ricciardo. “Bahrain should be back to more ‘normal’ running, with a more familiar track surface.
“We need to get both cars back into the points. I’m feeling much more on top of the car since we were last in Bahrain, so I think we should be in a good place. We also have a bit of unfinished business there after last season, so I’m pretty hungry and fired up.”
“It’s quite a complete circuit with plenty to offer” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Ocon says he enjoys racing at the Bahrain International Circuit, and like Ricciardo, he is ready to race in warmer conditions once more after cooler races in Portugal, Italy and last time out in Turkey.
Ocon first raced in Bahrain back in 2015 during his title winning GP3 Series campaign with ART Grand Prix, and he says the track has a lot to offer and as such he enjoys driving there.
“Bahrain is a track that I first drove in 2015 in GP3 and a circuit I’ve driven quite regularly since then,” said Ocon. “I really enjoy driving there as it’s quite a complete circuit with plenty to offer.
“It’s also the first night race of the year and racing under the night sky and floodlights is always a great experience. It just gives you a sensation of speed even more to what we normally have in the day.
“As well as that, it’s going to be a lot hotter than what we’ve experienced recently, especially compared to Portimão and Turkey, where it was a lot cooler! It’s back to a more normal weekend in terms of the conditions.
“It’s certainly a challenge for the cars and drivers racing in the heat. It’s going to be a little more conventional to have the tyres working back to normal and then it’s up to us to do the best on car set-up.
“Bahrain brings some great opportunities for overtaking and it’s also usually a great race for strategy, so let’s see what happens this weekend. Turn 1 is the best overtaking spot and Turn 4 is also pretty good. Overall, it’s a cool track, so I’m really looking forward to going there.”