Daniel Ricciardo explains why he is no respector of reputations after a brief skirmish at the front of the pack in Valencia last weekend...
We came away from Valencia without any points but I really think we should be happy with the race. It was definitely one of our strongest performances of the season, if not the strongest.
The result, obviously, wasn’t what we were after but I’ve got the feeling that it wasn’t what we deserved either. We did well to climb up into the top 10 at one point and were unlucky with the timing of the safety car. It didn’t come out at the best time as everyone else had pitted and I was left out there on pretty worn tyres. I wasn’t really in a position to pit as Jean-Eric was in the box at the time and, while staying out wasn’t what we’d have chosen, it was the only thing to do under the circumstances.
Although that compromised me a bit – and I wasn’t the only one – the flip side was that I got to have a run up at the front and mix it with those guys for a bit. I want to get used to that! After the restart I was in a sandwich between two world champions, with Fernando Alonso in front and Kimi Räikkönen behind. Alonso went away when the safety car came in but I managed to stay ahead of Räikkönen for a lap. Eventually I had to give that position up, and when Hamilton went past me as well it really was time to come in for some new tyres.
To be honest you really don’t pay too much attention to reputation when you’re in that sort of situation. When you’re out there it doesn’t matter who it is you’re racing. You see a car: you try to attack or defend. Beyond that you really don’t take too much notice. It was a good little fight though, taking those guys on.
'To be honest you really don’t pay too much attention to reputation'
The big story of the weekend was us fighting the Caterhams. They seemed very competitive in Valencia. Obviously it’s good for F1 to have more competitive teams but hopefully we’ll be able to pull away from them in the next few weeks and get back to scrapping with the teams in front of us. We need to find a bit more speed – particularly in qualifying.
A bit further down the line after the safety car changed the race around, I took a bit of a tumble in a collision with Vitaly Petrov. Initially I thought I had some damage – there was a lot of vibration coming from the rear of the car – but it was one of those times when it sorted itself out and suddenly got better a lap after the hit. The team told me to stay out because they weren’t seeing any problem on the telemetry.
As is often the case when two drivers collide, Vitaly and myself have slightly different interpretations of it. We had a chat at the weigh-in after the race. He thought it was a racing incident, I thought he pushed a bit too hard – but it amounts to the same thing, and obviously it is a racing incident and these things happen. I had more speed and would have got him either there or at the next corner so he probably didn’t have to charge in. Looking at the replay I think I give him enough room – but Valencia is tight, and we saw that from a number of other collisions during the race. The circuit has corner complexes which come back on themselves, which brings the cars closer together than you get at other tracks.
The good thing to take away is that Valencia provided us with a few more answers. Nothing that we could use during the weekend but things that will prove useful next time out. Hopefully the car will perform better in Silverstone and we’ll be able to eke out a bit more speed.