Ricciardo: chassis change was a turnaround for my season

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Visa RB driver Daniel Ricciardo is convinced that his performance has been positively influenced by the new chassis that he started to use at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his second season following his return to the Faenza-based squad. The eight-time grand prix winner struggled for outright pace in qualifying, while he had also crucial lap times deleted for track infringement in several qualifying sessions that robbed him of a potential impressive race result.

However, the Visa RB outfit introduced a new chassis in China, and with Ricciardo having had issues at the start of the year, the team elected to give the new chassis to the Australian. While chassis change rarely makes a real difference, it clearly saw Ricciardo improve his speed, albeit he was unable to secure an impressive race result due to a contact with Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll.

In Miami, however, Ricciardo put in a brilliant effort to finish fourth in the sprint race which prompted the Perth-born driver to claim that the chassis change was a game changer for his season.

"I think last year, I would say when I joined the team and got myself into a few races, set up directions, started to diverge a bit. That means going away? Yeah. I think that I certainly was happy with the direction that I was looking for or taking the car. And then, honestly, ultimately, Yuki started to explore a little bit that as well. And I think we both ended up liking that. And now we're both pretty much in a similar place with what we want from the car and where we like it in terms of set-up.

"So obviously after the first few races, yeah, I understand that there was a few things that we were trying to get on top of. We being, let's say, me and my side of the garage. But it wasn't necessarily doing a whole lot… I was still happy with the car and that it was just obviously the lap time was a little bit of the question mark, ultimately.

Speaking of the chassis change in Shanghai, the Australian said: "So obviously we changed the chassis in China and I think some might say that it did nothing, but for me, I do feel like, at least my feeling, but also on paper, it looks like my season's taken a pretty big turnaround. So, you know, for now, that was something that was, I think, definitely positive. And we're just trying to get a bit more out of the car.

The Faenza-based squad constantly introduced upgrades over the stretch of the last few seasons. Ricciardo praised the team for the successful upgrades that have had a positive impact on the performance of the VCARB01, while he also stated that the team is aware of the direction it needs to take with the development of the car.

"But there's nothing really specific where I'm saying, ‘guys, we really need this’. I think both Yuki and myself are asking for similar things. With a bit more of my experience, I guess maybe there's a few more things I can lean in on and ask from the team. But a long-winded answer. Honestly, nothing in particular.

"We're just trying to find lap time. And the team's done a good job. Miami was a good little update to the floor and gave us a bit more what we needed for maybe the first sector in Miami. Yeah, it's clear the direction we need to go to catch the top teams, and I think the team's doing a good job of trying to give us all we can. And Laurent's been great in the team, so happy having him on board."