Daniel Ricciardo: "Like Mexico, it’s the crowd you want for a grand prix. Brazilians are cool."
We’ve just come from a race in Mexico that had an incredible atmosphere and now we’re going to another with a similarly crazy crowd – the Brazilian Grand Prix. Is it a race you enjoy?
Definitely. It’s one of F1’s classic tracks and the atmosphere is always great. I think they have done some rebuilding there and I’m looking forward to seeing how the paddock has changed. It was the smallest of the year and kind of difficult for teams to work in and it will be good to see what has been done.
But whatever they have done I don’t think it will change the atmosphere. It’s always amazing, with the fans so close to the track. They really have a big passion for Formula One and the feeling is always good on the grid there – even though it’s a bit crazy!
What about the Interlagos circuit itself?
It’s a good circuit and like I said it’s one of the classics. It’s got good changes of elevation, it’s quite a quick, short lap and there are some good overtaking spots. It’s nice to drive; it has a good flow to it with some good high-speed corners, which is what drivers always enjoy.
It has some great memories for me, because I did my second free practice in F1 there in 2013 with Toro Rosso. It was wet but I really enjoyed it and I finished I think eighth or ninth [Dany was P8]. Last year’s race [with Toro Rosso] wasn’t great. I had a grid penalty and started 17th but I managed to finish 11th.
And away from the track, what do you make of the city?
It’s enormous. It’s hard to get a good feel for it really because it’s so big but the food there is really good and it has got some really nice restaurants, if you know where to go. Also the girls are really pretty!
So Daniel, Brazil up next, what’s the secret to a great lap of the Autódromo José Carlos Pace?
Don’t ask me, I don’t know – I don’t think I’ve ever done one, so I’ve got no secrets! What I have learned is that you shouldn’t think ahead too much. You have to take it corner-bycorner and concentrate on the one you’re in. There’s not many that you string together. There’s not many corners full stop.
It’s not your favourite circuit is it?
What gave it away? No, Brazil’s a wonderful grand prix with a great atmosphere in an exciting city but the track doesn’t really do it for me. There’s just not a corner that gives you any real satisfaction. I don’t want to make it sound dull, because it isn’t, but like Russia, there isn’t a corner that makes you go Woooo-Hoooo! It needs a few more corners and something really high speed. There’s a couple that look good on paper but because of the cambers, you never really have the grip to go barrelling in. The crowd really gets your heart-rate up before the sessions, so you want to be really on it but instead have to be very patient.
Tell us about the crowd, you must hear them at the start?
Oh yeah. The start-finish straight is very narrow, so if your grid slot is on the outside, you’re about two metres away from the grandstand. You better hope they like you because if not you’re a pretty easy target when you’re pulling your helmet on! It’s a good time though. Lots of noise, lots of airhorns, trumpets, drums. Like Mexico, it’s the crowd you want for a grand prix. Brazilians are cool.
How about away from the track, what do you do?
Food! Amazing restaurants. Last year we went to Restaurante Figueira Rubaiyat, with the fig tree growing through the middle of the dining room. That was pretty special. Sadly, it not being the season finale, I can’t really indulge – but I can watch other people.
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