Daniel Ricciardo is aiming to keep his points-scoring streak alive, but knows he will have to try do it at a circuit that isn’t his strongest.
The Sochi Autodrom has not been much of a happy hunting ground for the Aussie, with a P6 finish in 2018 back in his Red Bull days as good as it has ever got for him.
Ricciardo has strung together three consecutive points finishes ahead of round 10 in Russia. A P4 in Belgium was then followed up by a P6 in Monza and another P4 at Mugello.
The plan is to continue that points haul but is aware of the challenges that this particular street circuit will bring.
“I want to keep up the points-scoring run,” Ricciardo said.
“My race was pretty short in Sochi last year with a bit of Turn 4 chaos. I think after that race, I remember quite vividly thinking ‘we have to do better in qualifying, so we are not in the midfield’.
“It wasn’t my strongest weekend last year with qualifying, so it’s something I want to put emphasis on this year, to try and get on top of the track.
“It’s never been my strongest circuit and there are still some tricks for me to learn on it. I’m looking forward to going back and trying to figure it out.
“It’s a flat circuit, completely different to Mugello, which is pretty up and down, and Sochi is literally the opposite. Personally, I’m looking to improve on a few personal weaknesses there.
“We’re in a really tight midfield fight with a number of teams with one or two tenths either way the difference between the second row of the grid or ending outside the top ten.
“That challenge is exciting, it means we have to find everything from within the car and make it work. We had two fourth places from the last triple header, the target remains to take those big points to keep in the championship fight.”
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Team-mate Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, has happier memories of Sochi.
He added: “Sochi is a cool track to race on. I have good memories there including the 2017 and 2018, races in Formula 1 when I scored some decent points and I remember the performance was good for me.
“I’m really looking forward to racing in Russia again this weekend.
“It’s been quite special there and I’ve always had a warm welcome from the Russian fans. There are some fans this year as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing the atmosphere back again.
“Overall, that’s very positive. We think the car is going to be competitive there, and we’ll do our best preparing and make sure we back it up when it matters.”