Daniel Ricciardo says a better understanding of the Pirelli tyres is behind his recent improvement as the Australian continues to come to terms with life in F1.
Ricciardo made his debut with HRT in the British Grand Prix and has since gone on to see the chequered flag in all bar two of his eight races – with a best finish of 18th in Hungary.
Last time out in Korea, Ricciardo managed to finish ahead of Virgin's Jerome D'Ambrosio while he beat team-mate Tonio Liuzzi in the previous race in Japan – with the rookie admitted that a better knowledge of tyres was one of the main reasons for his recent performances.
"We know generally Virgin has more pace than us, so if we can mix it in the race then it's normally a sign of a good result,” he was quoted by ESPN
. “Particularly Korea, we had probably nine dry laps coming into the race and it was still a bit new to me but we got on with it and really gave them a really good fight.
"It's hard to pinpoint something as we haven't made any big changes. I think it's probably that, just subconsciously, I've worked the tyres a bit better in the race and given them a bit more life and performance. I guess setup on Friday has built up towards that as well. In qualifying it's always nice to be quick, but we're sacrificing a bit for the race which has been good for us."
Ricciardo will now hope to maintain his recent strong form in India despite admitting he was surprised at being given the chance to race, with Liuzzi stepping aside to give Narain Karthikeyan the opportunity to compete in front of his home fans.
"It's a nice surprise," Ricciardo admitted. "I had the impression that I would be here but perhaps not driving, it was just a gut feeling. So now I'm here in the car which is cool and definitely something that I'm going to try and use the most of."