Daniel Riccardo is glad to have finished fifth in qualifying at the Turkish circuit …
Question: The fifth position is a good result, how did it go?
Daniel Riccardo: I’m just glad I was able to earn it!
Q: Can you share your impressions of the track condition and grip levels: was it like winter tests in British Formula 3, in which you competed more than ten years ago?
Daniel Riccardo: Yes! (laughs) But, perhaps, it was more difficult today, probably even worse than then. To be honest, it is best to give an example: once upon a time, during a driving course, I had a chance to drive on a special slippery area, where the car just slides, it is impossible in principle to feel any grip.
Today it felt exactly like that, you try to do something to make the tires start to hold the track, but it doesn’t happen. So today I just had to somehow survive!
Question: But in such conditions we got an interesting starting field, because the balance of power is quite unusual, and Mercedes cars were far behind you …
Daniel Riccardo: But such stress shortens life for several days!
Q: There was a lot of criticism against the organizers of the Turkish race, because before the very Grand Prix they updated the asphalt along the entire length of the circle, which probably should not have been done. As a result, when it started to rain, the conditions on the track were just dangerous, and that’s putting it mildly …
Daniel Riccardo: I, of course, do not want to criticize anyone, because this year everything happens at the last moment, and we just have to be grateful that we even got a race in Turkey. Of course, the situation is not ideal, but it influenced the balance of power, changing it somewhat.
I think the audience is only happy, but we, the racers, are in a difficult position! (laughs) Especially in the morning practice, it was weird to see people losing control of the car, even when driving in 6th gear in a straight line.
We were practically passengers. Throughout the session there was a feeling that you were driving on ice, and there was only one task – just to stay on the track.
Q: What kind of weather is expected at Renault on Sunday?
Daniel Riccardo: As far as I know, the preliminary forecast promised that in the morning the probability of rain at the level of 30%, but the race should be held on dry asphalt. But today, since the coating is completely new – it can be called dirty – the water does not drain from it, but remains on the surface. Plus, there are no support races this weekend.
Question: How do you think how the start of tomorrow’s race can take place on such a track?
Daniel Riccardo: Any predictions can be made. I don’t know what to expect, it could be anything, even if it’s dry. It’s very slippery here. And if after yesterday’s training on the track some layer of used rubber has formed, today it was washed away by the rain. Even if the weather is sunny and plus twenty degrees, the sensations will be such as if we were driving on wet asphalt.
In general, it will be interesting! Luckily, I’m not too far off pole from the start.
Q: As you say, the riders may have gray hair, but the audience will really be interested!
Daniel Riccardo: Yes, in Montreal in 2011, I was in the role of a spectator, just when the race was very long due to rain and several stops. And then I was glad that I saw all this from the outside – tomorrow we can expect something similar. But this time I will be in the driver’s role and I hope that I can perform well.