‘Beast’ bares its teeth at rocky Ricciardo
After a second DNF from as many races Daniel Ricciardo has admitted his new car is taking some getting used to, calling it a "beast" he's yet to tame.
Ricciardo lost power just a few laps from the finish line in Bahrain on Sunday after earlier retiring from the Australian Grand Prix with mechanical troubles in the F1 season opener as his Renault career got off to the worst possible start.
The teams remain in Bahrain this week for testing and Ricciardo knows more time in the car is essential if he's to gain a greater understanding of how his new four-wheeler behaves.
The Aussie has been impressed with promising signs about the car's pace, which was on show on Sunday when he mowed down some of the field early in the race as he surged from 10th on the grid to at one stage be in the lead because of his one-stop strategy, while his main rivals opted for two pit stops.
However, Ricciardo said his feel for the car is just as important as the pace it can deliver.
"The car has signs of pace but personally I'm still trying to find a bit," Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.
"There's a few areas that we'll work on during the test, so we'll get some more time in the car and iron out a few things.
"Even the first stint (of the Bahrain GP) I was quite surprised we came through a few cars. I didn't feel particularly great in the first stint but yeah, relative to our competitors, it looks like we were doing OK.
"There's a bit of speed there, but I feel a lot more can come. I've experienced more so I know a lot more can come and hopefully we can find that soon. Even for me personally, just more confidence in the car."
Ricciardo's lack of confidence, particularly under braking, was partly to blame for him making contact with teammate Nico Hulkenberg during the Bahrain GP, he said. He also called his car a "different beast to tame" than what he was used to at Red Bull and said hopefully with more time he'll be able to better appreciate its subtleties.
"I think really there are some things that I just need to figure out what I need in the car, as far as the set-up goes," Ricciardo said.
"It's not just oversteer and understeer but it's about how the car rides and absorbs bumps and kerbs and all these things and compromises."
While Renault will be hoping to see some improvement after ironing out a few kinks during testing, the big story of the day was the famous Schumacher name making a return to F1 in the red of Ferrari.
Racing legend Michael Schumacher's son Mick was called up to testing by the Scuderia and he enjoyed a stellar day on the track, running second fastest to Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
After winning the European F3 championship in 2018 Mick earned a promotion to F2. He made his debut in F1's feeder series in Bahrain last weekend, finishing in the points in both races, before his landmark appearance at F1 testing.
As Michael remains out of the public eye while he recovers from a horrific skiing accident in 2013, Ricciardo was among those who were thrilled to see Mick given a chance as he aims to follow in his father's footsteps.
"I met him a couple of years ago … and I automatically thought he was a really nice kid and I got to see him a little bit over the weekend (in Bahrain)," Ricciardo told Sky Sports.
"It's cool. I'm happy for him, not only of his name, but he seems like a genuinely good person, obviously with talent so it's a good story but I also think he deserves it."