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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

Ricciardo: "People will calm down" about RB's F1 performance

Daniel Ricciardo has played down paddock talk over his RB Formula 1 team's potential, saying "people will calm down a bit" after this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB 01
RB finished last season strongly after a steady stream of floor upgrades but ran out of races to overtake Williams for seventh in the championship.
After analysing last week's winter test at Sakhir, Williams' Alex Albon was one of several drivers and observers wary of the steps the former AlphaTauri team has made, having finished last season as one of the strongest teams in low-speed corners.
"Regarding RB, I think we already saw it towards the end of last year, they started to really make big steps as they work much closer with Red Bull," Albon said.
"I think that's pretty much the reason why you see the increase in performance from them. That's not discrediting what they're doing, they're doing an amazing job.
"But I do think they're going to be definitely one step or two steps ahead of where they were last year. They already showed great pace towards the end of last year as well.
"So, they're continuing that and I think they're actually going to be quite close to the top of the midfield."
Albon's comments back up long-run data from the winter test which, while it needs to be treated with caution, projects RB to be clear of 2023's remaining three bottom teams and closer to the top of the midfield.
Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

When Ricciardo was asked if RB has a lot more pace to come than what it showed in last week's test, he played down the excitement around the so-called VCARB01 he and team-mate Yuki Tsunoda are driving.
"Time will tell, but I honestly don't think so," he said. "I want to say after testing, we have a bit of an idea of the gap to the leaders, give or take probably a few tenths. But knowing that it's still I think a bit of a pretty big gap.
"I think there are some teams that fit inside that gap. If we could leave here with Q3 and points, I think we'd be very happy to. Do I stand here now and say we're definitely going to Q3 and points? Still a bit unsure."
Regarding chatter over RB's closer collaboration with Red Bull, which now involves taking both the front and rear suspension from last year's RB19, Ricciardo says people will "calm down a bit" once they see the Anglo-Italian squad's actual performance level.
"I think some people think we'll be the Aston Martin of last year or the pink Mercedes of a few years ago," the Australian commented.
"I would love to surprise myself and be fighting for a podium, but I would say once we get the result of the weekend, people will calm down a bit.
"Obviously, we do have some components that we're allowed to use, but it's not to the level that I think some people are thinking."
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