Ricciardo needs to be less "sensitive" to set-up flaws

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Ricciardo needs to be less
By: Lawrence Barretto
Co-author: Matt Beer
Feb 18, 2018, 8:59 AM

Daniel Ricciardo believes he needs to get better at driving through problems in the 2018 Formula 1 season rather than trying to perfect his set-ups.

 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 at the start
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing at the Red Bull Racing team photo
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13

Though Ricciardo outscored Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen last year, the Dutchman had the stronger qualifying record and was ahead in five of the seven grands prix where they both finished.

Ricciardo admitted that the aerodynamic rules changes and wider tyres for 2017 made the cars "trickier to understand, trickier to find the right formula [for]" and thinks in retrospect he hurt his form by trying too hard to solve problems with set-up changes.

"In the past, I feel some of my strength has been my ability to feel the car," Ricciardo told Motorsport.com. "I'm quite sensitive to things and therefore in the past it's been good for tyre management.

"Sometimes it's to my detriment, where I would probably be better off driving through something as opposed to being 'oh, we need to change that or change that'. 

"I feel I have learned a bit as well. Sometimes just throw the book out the window and drive it."

He believes his problems in 2017 stemmed more from the Pirelli tyres' new characteristics than the car changes.

"These tyres behave so differently to all different types of surfaces," Ricciardo explained.

"On a smooth surface they slide a lot and I think a lot of the time, I have got to acknowledge the car is not going to be perfect.

"It's low grip, the tyre is quite slow at warming up, so it's going to slide, it's going to feel a bit of a handful.

"Just go out there and it's not going to be perfect but just do what you've got with what you've got. Maybe sometimes I'll try and set up the car and try and fix it when it's never really going to be fixed.

"Maybe sticking with one set-up for longer in the weekend and learning how to drive that set-up the best [would be better].

"There are a few times we've got a little bit lost and changed too many things. It's also natural because you want a better car - 'it's understeering here so let's try and fix that'.

"It then creates another problem and you just end up in a bit of a vicious cycle."

Asked if he needed to come out of his driving style and set-up comfort zone to combat those problems, Ricciardo replied: "I wouldn't call it a comfort zone, because I feel I've always been able to adapt to situations.

"It's more broadening my window, just being a bit more open-minded."

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