24 NOVEMBER 2017
ABU DHABI GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
First Practice Session: 1:40.773 Position: 10, Laps: 29
Second Practice Session: 1:38.180 Position: 3, Laps: 34
“A pretty good Friday. This morning we couldn’t really look at the lap times as we tried a little bit of testing for next week. However this afternoon we put everything in the car that we needed and it was solid. On low fuel we looked quite strong but I thought we would be a bit quicker with high fuel, so we still need to find a bit there. Nothing in particular, just the general grip wasn’t quite there and I was sliding around so we’ll try and find a way to keep the tyres working a bit better in the night conditions. I think it’s still Friday numbers unfortunately, as we were ahead of one Ferrari and one Mercedes today. We expect them to be quick tomorrow, so if we have the same pace tomorrow as we had today I expect them to jump us. We still need to find a bit more speed.”
First Practice session: 1:39.154, Position: 3, Laps: 15
Second Practice Session: 1:38.894 Position: 6, Laps: 34
“We tried a few different things today to see what suited the conditions. I was pretty happy in the first practice but not so much in the second one. We know what was changed which resulted in me not being able to turn as well as I would have liked so we should be able to fix that for tomorrow. This track especially has a lot of corner sequences so we need to be able to get the turning of the car spot on to be able to compete. We need to improve the set-up but we still don’t look too far away so this is a positive to take from the day’s work. The track is pretty slippery, if you run off-line, clip some kerb or find a sandy patch it is easy to lose grip, I think that is why we have seen a few mistakes. The engine we had today was an old one, it is definitely not 100% so we will change that tomorrow to improve the power. With a new engine and an improvement in the setup I am confident we will be in a good position. Mercedes are still looking like the team to beat, as they have been all year so we will try to get as close as we can.”
Luck of the Draw
Everyone likes to say there’s no such thing as luck in F1 and that outcomes are the result of deep research, intense analysis and careful strategising. As our new quiz reveals that’s a complete load of old rubbish. We present our team personnel with a set of 50 questions, the order of which shifts with each race, they choose 10 and have to answer them, no matter what. Tough, easy, personal and just plain weird, what they get is down to the luck of the draw. This race’s lucky dipper is the Honey Badger himself, Daniel Ricciardo.
1 What’s the trait in other people that annoys you most?
First of all, a story: I’m going to do all the numbers I’ve raced with. What’s the characteristic I don’t like others? Ungratefulness. I get frustrated when I sense a driver is ungrateful or unappreciative of the opportunity, because I’m pretty sure we all chose to be here, it’s our dream, so I feel like it’s not too bad… even on a bad day this isn’t too bad.
2 What’s the thing you most dislike about Formula 1?
Probably the demands – sometimes you just want time to yourself. We do get time to ourselves, but there can be a number of days that accumulate together and at some point, you’re like ‘leave me alone’. Race weekends are really difficult but even some of the race weeks start on a Tuesday, because you’ll have media or other commitments starting then. Normally the day after a race is off and if I fly back home Sunday night, Monday I’m maybe leaving the apartment for lunch or dinner but I’m staying inside and doing nothing. At the end of the season, the first couple of weeks after the last race are busy, but then I switch off for three weeks.
3 What sort of house do you live in?
I live in an apartment in Monaco. But I am craving the day that I have my own house. And when I say my house, I mean my house – where I’ll hang things on the wall, have my furniture. Those things I will appreciate once this all slows down. My apartment is one bedroom, kind of small. I live alone and Monaco’s not so cheap, so I’m happy with one bedroom for now. It’s clean, it’s modern – so it’s OK. After a long trip away it does feel like home, when I open the closets and it’s my stuff in there, but it will always be temporary I guess. It’s not even like a proper bachelor pad, it doesn’t even have the huge widescreen TV and games console, it’s pretty minimal.
4 What’s the last number dialled on your phone?
I called Natalie Pinkham. I’m godfather to her son Wilf and she was asking if I could attend one of the charity events she does, in December, but it doesn’t quite link up. I’ll already be back home in Australia then.
5 What do you owe to your parents?
A holiday. That’s one of the best things about being here now, the financial side and being able to fly them business class across the world for a holiday in America or somewhere. That’s the cool thing – some of the money I have made from racing I can use to treat them for all the years they sacrificed or invested in my career. They deserve some of these experiences. I owe them a lot of cuddles as well. I’m affectionate and my parents like hugs! I’m hanging out to see them actually.
6. What’s the trait you most dislike in yourself?
Sometimes I’m too nice. I’m not a massive fan of conflict but sometimes I would love to get in a ring and fight someone! I’d rather have all-in conflict or none at all. Maybe sometimes I’m too nice. More so in the past than now, as a kid I probably got pushed around too much for being too nice. However, just pre-Formula 1 and especially in the last two years I’ve learned to say no. You need to, otherwise you’ll be inundated with pleasing people and you can’t please everyone. You’ve got to be comfortable with maybe upsetting a few people, but you have to live your own life.
7. What’s the last gift you gave somebody?
It was my nephew’s first birthday two days ago, first one in the family, so I ordered him a strider, his first two-wheel bike. It’s not motorised. It’s a balance bike, no training wheels.
8. What’s the best meal in the world?
There’s a couple. Firstly, pizza, from Monza. There’s a pizzeria I go to there… I’ve eaten pizza all over the world but that place is hands down the best. It’s a super thin crust, the flavours are amazing and they load it up, but not just with cheese, it’s the perfect combination. It’s so good you can eat one to yourself. You normally order one and a half. Second, my mum does Italian-style, Milanese cutlets, chicken or veal. Here chicken ones are amazing. So that’s normally one of the first meals I get when I go home for Christmas, she’ll do cutlets with a nice healthy salad. It’s a refreshing meal.
9. Name one other skill you have aside from the thing you do?
I’m good at catching. I’ve got good hand-eye co-ordination! I know, all drivers should have that, right? But seriously some drivers can’t catch to save their lives! What’s another skill? I’m pretty good at jumping a mountain bike. If there’s a good size jump I’ve got pretty decent jumping technique. Mountain biking is my thing, rather than road cycling.
10. Have you ever had a nickname?
Yes, I’ve had a few. Racer. That’s probably the most common one and the one my friends call me. Pretty self-explanatory. Also Ricky Bobby… Jenson gave me that one and he still calls me that. Probably middle of 2015 he started and yeah, it stuck. So all his group of friends who I’ve got to know over time, they all call me Ricky Bobby. It was because I admitted to liking NASCAR, Talladega Nights, I admitted to liking Will Ferrell and I’m kind of an idiot like him. Also Ricciardo, Ricky… Ricky Bobby.