Ricciardo: Experiences gives me confidence
Australian says time spent reflecting during the summer has helped performances
By Mike Wise in Yeongam. Last Updated: 13/10/12 4:57am
Daniel Ricciardo feels that growing experience and a resulting increase in confidence are behind his recent flurry of points finishes.
The Toro Rosso driver has scored points three times in the last four races and only missed out on another Italy when fuel pressure problem caused him to lose 10th place at the final corner.
Although the Italian team have been chipping away to improve their STR7, Ricciardo says they have introduced nothing recently that has served as a game-changer.
Instead, the 23-year-old Australian reckons that the change has come more from within, thanks to time spent during the summer break looking back on his F1 career to date.
"We've had bits and pieces coming, like at Suzuka some new front brake ducts. But no disrespect, it was peanuts: bits and pieces, nothing that's giving us 10 points of downforce," Ricciardo said on Friday.
"Not to be selfish, I think it's always a team effort. But I've been happier with my races since the summer break than most, if not all of them, before the break.
"I think it's just been more the flow of the race weekend. The first six months of the year was experience with the people we worked with and it seems after the summer break, we reflected on that and the work is much more productive now.
"Obviously I'm probably improving a bit as well. I think it's gelling a bit better and just probably due to experience more than anything else.
"I'm getting, I guess, a bit more intelligent in terms of what the car's doing and what to expect from it. It's just experience again: the more time in the car, the more I understand.
"I think that and a bit of extra confidence. I had a nice summer break and thought over a few things and now I've come back probably a little different as well, which is good."
Ricciardo hopes to continue his run at this weekend's Korean Grand Prix, although he admitted that opening practice, which he ended 17th fastest, had proved difficult.
"Today was not great, to be honest. I think we learned our mistakes today and obviously we have an idea of what to try tomorrow. But until it works tomorrow, I don't think we'll be satisfied with today," he said.
"I think we've started off not really in the right frame in terms of set-up and we probably didn't develop as much as we would have liked during the day from FP1 to FP2.
"In saying that, though, in making a few mistakes with that today, we should have learned what to do for tomorrow.
"Personally, I don't think we're going to be into Q3. Not to sound negative but I think it'll take quite a lot. So we're going to be mid-pack, but Sunday - it's important to get that right, as we have done the last few rounds."
Ricciardo spent the closing laps of the Japanese Grand Prix fending off seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher for 10th place.
He said the defence he put up was "a bit of fun" but added that he would much rather score points by attacking.
"Suzuka and Singapore were great, but I was on the defensive. In terms of a defensive drive and a controlling drive, and in terms of the pressure and whatever, I was really happy with that," he added.
"But obviously I would love to be the attacker and moving through. Unfortunately, we've been defending the points rather than attacking them.
"That's been the situation but I think to be in that defence, to put ourselves there already, was a good effort. I would say the last two have been really, really good."