2 May 2015
F1 Spanish Grand Prix: Test miles don’t dull Barcelona challenge for Kvya
Red Bull Racing duo Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo will be hoping to push the team closer to the leading group when the F1 season resumes at the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.
Daniil Kvyat insists that next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix won't be any easier for the F1 field just because of the extensive testing carried out there.
The Circuit de Catalunya is a favourite pre-season destination for the grand prix circus and, even in the current climate of more limited running, almost everyone expected on the grid in Barcelona next Sunday will have got a lot of mileage under their belts before heading off on the four-race 'flyaway' schedule that opened the race campaign.
Although Kvyat's Red Bull team again found its preparation difficult on the series' short tour of Spain, it has enough data from pounding around its 4.7km length to ensure that both the Russian and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo can get down to the business of honing set-up next Friday morning. Kvyat, however, insists that familiarity will not breed contempt.
“Obviously, the teams and drivers know the track very well, simply through testing - we're there in pre-season and all the drivers do a lot of miles,” he confirmed, “However, just because we do a lot of testing there, it doesn't mean the track is any less challenging for a driver. There's a reason it's used so much and that's because it's got a great variety of corners and a lot of different challenges. For a driver, it's a tough track, quite technical but, if you get everything right, then it's really enjoyable.”
Ricciardo, too, professes to enjoy the Catalan venue, and the atmosphere on race weekend – while a little diluted by Spain's financial crisis in recent years – only adds to his anticipation.
“I think most F1 drivers would say we've all done too many laps around here but, don't get me wrong, it's a great circuit,” the Australian insisted, “It's fun to drive. The first two sectors have a really good flow to them, which is pretty cool. The last sector is a bit more about tyre management on the modern layout, but the rest is exhilarating.
“We have a great atmosphere for the race. The circuit cuts into the hillside, so there's lots of good viewing areas and, so long as [Fernando] Alonso's on track, it's pretty crazy. That's great for all of us, not just Fernando. It's going to be good with three Spanish drivers in this year's race - there'll be a real buzz!”
After a tough start to the season, in which ten points from Bahrain represents RBR's highest single-race haul in four attempts, Ricciardo is hoping that the three-week gap since the last of the early 'flyaways' will boost the team's chances of a good result. While Kvyat languishes 15th overall, with just a brace of ninth-place finishes to his name, the Australian - despite his engine expiring as he crossed the line - equalled his season's best result of sixth last time out and will be looking to hang with the leading pack in Barcelona.
“I think [the race] is one where DRS is a big plus point,” he noted, “In the past, because everyone knew the track and their set-up so well, races tended to be a bit stale, but I think the DRS means that you don't get dull races any more. You can still defend – it's a good track for that – but, in a way, that's going to make the race exciting for spectators...”
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