Australian formula one star Daniel Ricciardo admits he doesn’t like the cold weather, so it’s little wonder he ended up feeling poorly after testing his new Red Bull in a Barcelona snowstorm last week.
Still, there’s nothing like a competitive car to get Ricciardo warmed up and after 165 laps in his new Red Bull this week he’s shaking off his head cold and looking ahead to what will be a career-defining season.
Speaking to The New Daily from Barcelona on Friday morning (AEDT), Ricciardo said he swapped driver duties with teammate Max Verstappen to give himself an extra day to recover from a gruelling, if satisfying, stint at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday.
“I’m not built for the cold and trying to drive in the snow last week got me,” Ricciardo said.
“At the end of last week I started to feel like I was coming down with something and it lasted a little longer than I would have liked, so we have switched the days around this week to try and give me an extra day to rest.
“So yeah basically just a flu, virus, whatever. I’m still a bit blocked up, but I’m fine.”
“I slept well last night that’s for sure. It was good, we had a solid day and kind of just got into a rhythm obviously everything was working on the car and reliability was solid so we just kind of kept plugging through and smashing them out, and I just had little breaks here and there to recharge a little bit.
“We just took advantage of it and I was surviving so we kept pounding around and around and it was a good day.”
Big day. Good day. I'm tired.
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) March 7, 2018
Ricciardo’s best time of one minute 18.047 seconds on the new hyper-soft Pirelli tyres set a new unofficial lap record, although that was eclipsed overnight Thursday in the most recent session by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“Testing is a tease because you think you are there and then you see that [time], and you think ‘maybe they had lower fuel’ and ‘maybe this’, but I think we are in the ballpark, we are in the ballpark,” Ricciardo said.
Ferrari are pretty close, they might be a whisker ahead and Mercedes maybe a toe ahead. We are not too far off, I don’t think we are a half-second off or anything so we are in the fire at this stage.”
The 28 year old said he’d be back in the car on Saturday (AEST) when the team planned to test some new aerodynamic improvements.
“We are still trying new bits and pieces, they are always putting new parts on. I think tomorrow we have some new things for me to try which we didn’t have yesterday.”
The most visible changes to the formula one cars this season has been the introduction of the driver protection ‘halo’ and larger sidepods, which are designed to improve airflow and cooling.
“I mean the sidepods and all that are insane. There are so many bits and pieces, aero bits hanging off them, winglets, whatever you call them,” Ricciardo said.
“Getting in the car is actually difficult now because there is so much around there and we are trying not to step on anything.
“Yeah the cars are fast. The laps times we are doing now, it is pretty insane around here.”