Daniel Ricciardo believes the secret to most of his overtaking success is the conviction with which he approaches a pass.
Teammate Max Verstappen has been involved in incidents in each of the past two races, with his clumsy attempt to overtake Sebastian Vettel in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix earning him a ten-second time penalty and ruining his hopes of a podium. Ricciardo, by contrast, made a number of clean moves to rise from sixth on track to win, and when pushed on how he manages to pull them off without incident the Australian replied: “Conviction.”
“I think I plan it very much in advance. With Valtteri [Bottas], going through Turn 3 – the left – even at the apex before we got the exit I was like, ‘I’m going this lap’ and that was it. So I’d already given myself five or seven seconds to prepare it if you know what I mean. So I was just ready and had conviction.”
The move on Bottas was for the lead and saw both drivers go wheel-to-wheel, but Ricciardo also managed to outbrake Lewis Hamilton from a long way back at the Turn 14 hairpin, and when asked if he was braking at the same points each lap he responded: “Definitely not!”
“I was a bit later. But I always keep a bit of margin for times like those. I knew even if I ran a bit deep either I would get another chance or my traction would still be good enough to maybe hang on. So I wanted to try. But I wasn’t just sending a Hail Mary, I really thought I could do it, so that was a lot of fun.”
Red Bull has been confident in the pace of its car since the opening race of the season and Ricciardo’s win leaves him 17 points adrift of championship leader Vettel. While not willing to say he’s a title contender yet, Ricciardo says his overtaking approach won’t change if he is in contention later in the season.
“Always after a win you feel like it but it’s still very early, still very early. But I think I proved that if I was [in a title fight] I would send it and I would make the most of the opportunity.”