Ricciardo: The wind makes it look like we can’t drive straight

Date published: June 11 2022 - Michelle Foster

Daniel Ricciardo blurred in his McLaren. Baku June 2022

Buffeted by the wind in Baku, Daniel Ricciardo reckons people watching Friday’s practice must have thought “these guys are pros why can’t they drive straight”.

The wind picked up as the drivers took to the Baku street circuit for the start of Azerbaijan weekend’s action, the situation not easy to deal with as sometimes the drivers were protected by the buildings on the side of the track and then suddenly they weren’t.

That, coupled with gusts of some 50kph, meant several drivers had to take to the escape roads to avoid crashing while even on the main straight they struggled to keep the car in a straight line.

Ricciardo told F1.com: “It was less tricky this evening but FP1 was really wind, so the gusts and everything… it looked like we couldn’t drive straight.

“Anyone watching would think these guys are pros why can’t they drive straight.

“It was getting thrown around a lot.”

The McLaren driver is hoping for calmer wind come Saturday’s qualifying hour.

“Hopefully it is less windy,” he said. “That would make life easier for everyone because it is just unpredictable especially in corners with tail winds – one lap it is good, the next it is not depending on the gusts.

“This track is already challenging so we probably don’t need 50kph gusts and all that thrown in there as well.”

The good news for Ricciardo, and the other 19 drivers, is that the forecast is for less wind on Saturday with gusts of only 14kph in qualifying.

Ricciardo finished Friday’s practice in 14th place with his team-mate Lando Norris P10, both drivers over 1.5s down on pace-setter Charles Leclerc.

But only half a second down on seventh place, Ricciardo reckons a Q3 berth could yet be on the cards.

“I hear half a second would have put us P7 and I think half a second on a long lap around here is not impossible,” he said.

“It is on the cards, too early to say but hopefully we can be there.”

He added: “We tried a few, let’s say, other things Friday morning which we weren’t particularly happy with or comfortable with.

“We put on the other stuff and made some changes for FP2 and it was better.

“I’d say we are in the pack for now… competitively we are a bit off, we are kind of just hanging onto, I think Lando is tenth, so we are not quite in the depth of it but I think we are a lot more comfortable this afternoon.

“It is quite clear there are places to improve and whatever so more at ease.”