Daniel Ricciardo admits it is tough for him to understand his fluctuating form after an impressive drive to seventh place in the Mexico City Grand Prix despite a 10-second time penalty.
Last time out out at COTA, Ricciardo felt particularly low after an uncompetitive race, but he bounced back with a strong run in Mexico that featured a long first stint on medium tires and then a switch to softs to fight through into the points. The potential was strong and even though Ricciardo picked up a 10-second penalty for hitting Yuki Tsunoda when trying to overtake the AlphaTauri for 11th place, he managed to climb to seventh and put over 12 seconds between himself and Esteban Ocon to ensure he didn’t lost a position.
“I wish I knew (where it came from), in terms of I wish we had this more often,” Ricciardo told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “But I can’t just do one good race and say, ‘Hey, look!’ but the truth is I think when I do have a little bit of speed it’s nice to be able to show it.
“People forget and it’s just one race, but I just felt like I could lean on the car and had a bit more confidence in it and it returned the favor. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been often enough that I’ve had that feeling, but we ran with it.
“Didn’t make it easy with the penalty. I saw a replay — I obviously take responsibility but I don’t think it was that black and white. I held the apex — I honestly didn’t plan on actually overtaking him, I just wanted to keep him a little wide to then get him on the exit as I definitely had a much better tire, so I was just doing what I could to set him up. But in any case that obviously was a little bit of a low moment, but otherwise still to pull the 10 seconds I was very happy.”
After a strong drive in Singapore saw Ricciardo finish fifth, it’s his second point-scoring result in four races that he sees as a slight upturn in form but one that isn’t consistent enough.
“A little more often than not, but I think the difficult thing is when it’s been a bad race it’s been a really bad race. Just the level of grip I’ve been operating on has been like a second a lap slower at times. So that’s where sometimes it’s so far off I feel like I’m just in a different category.
“So they’re the days which I still find hard to answer, but when things are working as I feel a bit more normal, for sure I can be in the race.”