22 June 2012
Ricciardo reflects on first year as race driver
Daniel Ricciardo says that he is looking to build on a year's experience as Toro Rosso attempts to haul itself back into F1 contention.
Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he is looking forward to posting improved result over the second half of the 2012 F1 season, having sampled all of the circuits bar the all-new Austin facility.
The Australian was drafted into the HRT line-up from last season's British Grand Prix at the behest of Toro Rosso backer Red Bull, and completed the campaign alongside F1 veteran Tonio Liuzzi. Silverstone is next on the schedule after this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia, where Ricciardo drove in FP1 for STR, and the youngster is confident that, despite the his current team struggling for form, his own performances will benefit from the familiarity full race participation can bring.
"I think it helps a bit," he confirmed, "Once you get to this level, you can pick up a new circuit fairly quickly, but I guess, if it's one you've driven on over and over, you tend to know a few more secrets about it. Having FP1 here last year will get me into the groove of things a bit quicker, but you know, come Saturday and qualifying, everyone's pretty much into it, whether it's a new circuit or one we've been to before.
"There are some special circuits on the calendar, maybe Monaco for example, where, the more experience you have, the quicker you'll eventually be able to go, knowing a few more little secrets; knowing which lines to take. But, generally, I don't think it changes much. I'm looking forward to a stronger second half of the season and hopefully that can start here."
Ricciardo's year in the cockpit on Sundays has yielded a meagre two points, but he insists that, while he is continuing to learn his trade, the desire to add to that tally remains strong.
"It's gone very quick," he said, "I remember Silverstone like it was a week ago, [put] time goes very fast. You have to try and take advantage of every opportunity and make the most of everything. I've had some good times in the first year, and some times I wish were better, but generally I'm enjoying it.
"It's a huge experience and a great learning curve for me but, after a year, it's time to kick on and get some solid results. This season, we've been a bit up and down. We kicked it off pretty well in Melbourne and we probably would have liked that to continue, which it hasn't done as smoothly, but we still have a long season ahead of us. The experience is growing and I think it's time now to try to get a few more points on the board. To turn a few heads would be nice."
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