21 May 2014
Monaco F1 Grand Prix: Ricciardo: Monaco result is up to me
Getting the perfect set-up is not what makes the difference in Monaco, says Daniel Ricciardo, as he takes responsibility for closing the gap to Mercedes
Getting the perfect set-up is not what makes the difference in Monaco, says Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian taking responsibility for closing the gap to Mercedes.
The Monaco Grand Prix has been earmarked as Red Bull's best opportunity to take the fight to Mercedes so far this season, with engine performance likely to have less of an influence on the street circuit. While Ricciardo has tended to have the edge over team-mate Sebastian Vettel so far as Vettel gets to grips with the RB10, Ricciardo says the focus in Monaco has to be on feeling comfortable in the car.
“The driver can obviously get the extra tenths out of it around here, so it's up to me to be on top of my game,” he said. “Car set-up here isn't the end of the world – it's more getting comfortable with the car, getting a car that you're comfortable driving even if the set-up's not perfect.
“It's got to be one that you're comfortable to sit in, to get close to the walls and jump over the kerbs. I think that's what we've got to work on tomorrow. Analyse everything Friday and just make sure I'm driving up to my standards on Saturday.”
Driving up to his standards means conquering the twisty streets of the principality, on a track the Australian sees as being the toughest mental challenge on the F1 calendar.
“Mentally it's the toughest circuit. You're running that edge, and you're obviously trying to find a bit more, a bit more. But that bit more can see you in the wall and out of the race, or out of the session, so it's trying to find that edge.
“I think until you do brush a wall, or get very close to crashing, you don't know how close you are to it. In a way, as the weekend goes on you force yourself to get closer and closer until you're where you think you need to be on the lap times.
“If you want to be quick around here you've got to go to that last percent. If you play it a bit safe you won't be quick enough around here.”
There is an opportunity to be had this weekend, Ricciardo said, with outright horsepower less vital in Monaco's narrow streets.
“I sense an opportunity this weekend, but Mercedes are still going to be quick nonetheless. Even if their package is brought to everyone else's level, they've got two very capable drivers who are driving very well at the moment. Not only is it 'can we be as quick as Mercedes?', but it's 'can we be quicker than Lewis and Nico?'. There's still a double challenge, but obviously less of a horsepower circuit should bring everyone a bit closer. I'll do what I can to hustle and to get the car towards the front.”
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