Daniel Ricciardo says he's prepared to take bigger risks for greater rewards ahead of the United States Grand Prix, after putting his Red Bull third on the grid in a delayed qualifying session.
The Australian driver says to master the slippery conditions a combination of confidence and mild aggression is needed to wrestle the car around the Circuit of the Americas and feels without the pressure of fighting for the F1 world championship he can afford to take more risks in the wet and fight with the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for victory.
“In these conditions it's always a fine line but I think you're better off taking risks because if you don't drive these conditions with confidence I don't think you get very far,” Ricciardo said. “As soon as there is a little bit of aquaplaning or a little bit of rain starts to scare you or make you a bit more cautious then everyone's going to jump in front.
“So you need to drive the conditions with some confidence and a little bit of aggression. Sure it can bite you but I think it's a risk you need to take and it can really make or break you in these conditions.
“Obviously for us as a team and me as a driver, I'm not fighting for a championship at the moment and these are conditions that do suit us. Where our car has been it's an opportunity for us in the rain, so I think to put it all on the line makes sense.”
The Red Bull driver also believes the wet conditions play to his team's strengthens in terms of overall car package and downforce levels, something the Milton Keynes-based squad has always been competitive with.
With the mixed conditions forecast for the race it is likely to hamper the Mercedes-powered machines in engine performance and Ricciardo feels by being able to take more risks he has an ideal opportunity to fight for the win.
“I think for us it helps us as a team because I think the chassis works well, we've got a good level of downforce,” he said. “Obviously the more rain, the less grip there is, so I think more downforce helps. So probably the good cars might stand out a bit more in wet conditions.
“On the contrary with the driver it is about risk and reward. I think the driver, if he's willing to take the risk it pays off and he can make the bigger difference. In the dry, there's sort of one line that you follow and one sort of technique in a way. In the wet you can improvise and do things a bit differently, so that's where it makes it more fun.”