The Russian Grand Prix venue has not been considered one of Ricciardo’s favourites up to now, and he knew heading in to the weekend that he wanted to do one thing totally different to show issues round.
After spending time final week watching on-board footage of earlier seasons, plus taking a look at some knowledge, he concluded that the best way to make progress was to attempt to be extra excessive along with his setup.
In stepping away from a automotive that felt comfy and straightforward to drive, the Australian duly discovered extra lap time, and ended up qualifying fifth.
Reflecting on what he had found within the build-up to the weekend, he stated: “I feel final 12 months, taking a look at it, even watching the onboards now, the automotive appeared somewhat too good to drive. And ultimately it was gradual.
“So it was simply looking for the comfy within the uncomfortable. I used to be simply watching a ton of on boards and simply going by way of setup issues we modified by way of the weekend final 12 months and the place it form of obtained away from me.”
He added: “I really feel usually should you’re not significantly sturdy at a circuit, there’s usually a little bit of a cause. Possibly the setup you usually like would not work for this circuit.
“So it is advisable to push your self to do one thing that possibly would not work on different tracks but it surely may work right here. So assume somewhat exterior the field and take a look at some setup objects on the automotive that possibly somewhere else would scare you.
“I feel a part of it was attempting to step out of my consolation zone with that, be a bit extra aggressive mainly on setup. Take just a few extra dangers.”
Ricciardo’s efforts paid dividends as he topped the Q2 session, however was unable to repeat that laptime in Q3 as he ended up fifth general.
He reckoned that his final effort was compromised by not fairly getting his tyres in to the correct working window – however he knew that even matching what he did in Q2 can be a tall order.
“I used to be simply taking a look at it now with the engineers and, I feel, to be trustworthy, it was only a little bit of tyre prep,” he stated. “So laying it down, the Q2 lap was most likely as near an ideal lap as it may be. So I knew even repeating it was going to be difficult.
“Usually in Q2, you set it in and there is at all times a bit extra for Q3. However every little thing simply felt proper in Q2. The tyres had been in and you’re feeling it even exiting the final nook to open the lap, you simply really feel the grip’s there. After which Flip 2, which is like Flip 1, the chunk was there and there was no entrance locking. So it was fairly an easy lap.”