Daniel Ricciardo focused on results, not ‘stories’

With the Formula 1 grid down in Melbourne this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix, it is a chance for favorite son Daniel Ricciardo to put in a good result in front of the home crowd.

Depending on who you listen to, Ricciardo might need such a result.

Ricciardo heads to Melbourne with the rest of the grid searching for his first points of the season. Following a strong first practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ricciardo failed to advance to Q3, and finished outside of the points in the first race of the season. Then in Saudi Arabia Ricciardo again failed to reach Q3, and again finished outside of the points.

The driver may be thinking of a return to Red Bull following a stint with Visa Cash App RB F1 Team — a storyline he himself called a “fairytale” ending last year — but the pressure is on to deliver on the track. That pressure to perform, which is a constant in F1, was turned up a notch in recent days. thanks to Red Bull Senior Advisor Dr. Helmut Marko. Never shy with a quote, Marko said after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that “… Ricciardo has to show something quickly. There is work to be done.”

At the FIA press conferences Thursday ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Ricciardo was asked about his slow start, and Marko’s comments.

“I don’t buy into any of the stories, if you will. I know, obviously, what my position is in the team. I know, let’s say, some potential things that could happen if I do really well. But that’s all just… It’s like everything you know. I think any team you’re with, you know if you have a really strong season it could lead to maybe something different or increase your position where you currently are. I think it’s always our objective to do the best we can,” said Ricciardo in response to a question from David Croft from Sky Sports F1. “And I think whatever happens will happen or can happen. But for us, my objective is to drive this car as good as I can. I think now getting back into a car I’m definitely not looking too far ahead.”

Ricciardo then elaborated, taking a diplomatic approach to stories about his “fairytale” ending.

“So am I thinking about the Red Bull seat that you speak of? No. I know if I do some really good results, maybe then that can present itself potentially. It’s not something I think about because, yeah, as you said, 12 months ago, I wasn’t in this position. I didn’t know if I would be back in this position,” added Ricciardo. “So I think I just take it weekend after weekend. There will always be some, yeah, whatever going around. But I know my job and what I need to do.”

The driver then noted his focus was on the weekend and performing well, not anything else.

“But the more you get caught up in that stuff, then that starts taking focus away from my job and that’s driving as fast as possible. I know we do a lot of other things during the course of a race weekend but that’s why we’re here ultimately, to push the car to the limit and try to make it as good as it can be,” stated Ricciardo. “So this weekend it’s something I look forward to obviously being here racing at home, but yeah, as you said, after the first two races it hasn’t been amazing. but it’s not a concern I think it’s two races out of 24 and there’s a lot of new people in the team. So it’s very early, but I do definitely want to have a strong weekend and yeah, do well.”

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Previews

Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images

Chiel van Koldenhoven from Viaplay then asked Ricciardo directly about Marko’s comments, and whether the driver found them “annoying.”

Not at all. In fact, Ricciardo noted that stories and comments like that come with the job. When you are just one of 20 people on the world in that role there will be pressure, and criticism.

“No, it’s not annoying. I think there’s always, as a big part of our job… The most important part is the driving, but a big part of it is talking to you guys and obviously hearing when things go well, obviously everyone’s talking positively and when they don’t, they don’t talk so positively. So that’s part of it,” added Ricciardo. “I think also the more I get into the sport, the more I just know that I’m back here because I believe I can do it. I believe I belong here, and it’s really that. When people say, do you have a point to prove or anything, or do you need to keep people happy or please anyone, I’m here for myself. It’s honestly that, because I know I can still do it.”

Ricciardo concluded with an admission that he needs to do better, but that ultimately the buck stops with him.

“I do want to make people proud, the people that support me. If someone says something, I know it already, because I’ve told myself that, or I know what’s expected from me. So that’s that. Of course, I want to be qualifying Q3. I want to get these results that I believe I can. But it’s tight. We’re in such a tight midfield. And like Bahrain in quali, I knew I didn’t put the lap together I should have,” described Ricciardo. “And I put my hand up for that. And that’s the difference. That’s the difference from maybe P14 to a Q3. I think end of Q1 in Saudi from P9 to P16 was less than a tenth. So you can very quickly look like a hero or not. And that’s where every tenth counts. And that’s where obviously I look to myself first. “

Ricciardo will get his first crack at a better result later today, with the first two practice sessions in Melbourne.

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