I haven’t forgotten how to drive, warns Ricciardo

Date published: April 13 2019 - Editor

Daniel Ricciardo is far from pleased with the Renault team, believing their strategy cost him points at the Spanish GP.

Daniel Ricciardo has lashed out at his critics, telling them to show patience after he qualified best-of-the-rest P7 for the Chinese GP.

The Aussie has been off the pace of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg since joining Renault for 2019, while also suffering retirements in both the Australian and Bahrain GP’s.

The 29-year-old marked his first Q3 appearance of the season in China, claiming P7 and outpacing Hulkenberg by a mere 0.004s.

After a tough start to life with the French manufacturer, Ricciardo is seemingly turning the tide at the track where he took victory last season, and reminded people to show some patience.

“It’s only the third race. I think some people are thinking we’ve had half a season already. It hasn’t been that long,” Ricciardo told reporters when asked whether the early season criticism directed at him is fair.

“I haven’t done anything that makes me forget how to drive. I know it’s been a long time since I was on a podium, but I still remember what to do. [People] just need a bit of patience.

“In football, for example, one guy gets a hat-rick and the next two games doesn’t score a goal. It’s like ‘what happened?’. One week ago he was the king of the show.

“When you’re at the top level in any sport, people always have the expectation that you should be at the top every single day. For a lot of people, it’s short term [memory].”

With Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull ahead, Ricciardo doesn’t expect to gain much ground in the race, conceding that holding station would be the best possible result for Renault.

“This weekend as a whole has been a bit smoother. Yesterday morning, in first practice, I felt more comfortable,” he explained.

“I’m not surprised [with the qualifying result] because yesterday I was already in that direction.

“On paper, we’re at the front end of our group. The three teams in front of us do have faster cars at the moment, so if everyone has their best race, realistically seventh is probably our best result we can ask for.

“If both cars finish seventh and eighth tomorrow, we’re probably not popping champagne bottles, but I think we’re going to be pretty pleased.”

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