Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Ricciardo: Hulkenberg near-miss shows lack of confidence under braking

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo admitted he needs to gain more confidence under braking in his Renault after running into his team mate during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ricciardo clipped Nico Hulkenberg’s right-rear wheel at turn one while being passed by his team mate.

“Running into Nico, obviously I didn’t plan on that,” said Ricciardo. “But just under braking to be honest I’m not there yet. So that wasn’t in the script.”

Both Renault drivers retired within moments of each other at the end of the race. Ricciardo, who had unsuccessfully run a one-stop strategy, said the misfortune was “probably slightly more brutal for him because his end of race was going well, mine was not so well.

“I feel like in a way half my damage was already done by the one-stop. And then obviously pretty heartbreaking for the team to lose both cars at the same time with three or something laps to go. Obviously I feel for them.”

Ricciardo said the RS19 has “signs of pace” but he still needs to learn how to get the best out of it. “I’m still trying to find a bit, particularly in a few areas which we’ll work on on Tuesday in the test, just get some more time in the car, try and find out a few things.”

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35 comments on “Ricciardo: Hulkenberg near-miss shows lack of confidence under braking”

  1. Strangely, I was pondering the phenomena of drivers with big reputations struggling when in a new team and I recalled that LH (iirc) struggled with the brakes when he moved to MB-AMG from MacL and I believe he got them to change brake supplier for his car. Alternately it may just be less downforce.

    1. Alonso suffered to in 2007. He preferred Hitcos and McLaren were using CIs. They gave him the Hitcos he wanted in Silverstone or Hungary IIRC.

  2. I believe him. That contact with Hulk doesn’t look like RIC’s style at all. It’s obvious to me now that he’s not in tune with the car, therefore not getting the max potential of the car and results either.

    1. @mg1982 – yeah, agreed. Since his driving/overtaking style is to push the envelope of braking, the difference in the car is probably something he needs getting used to, particularly since he’s moved to a comparatively inferior chassis.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      2nd April 2019, 8:21

      I thought it looks like his usual driving to me. Not saying he usually crashes, that is rare. But he always seems to rely on other drivers allowing him space to lunge down the inside, which they often need to do. But if they don’t, contact will happen. hulkenberg could have given yet more space, but in this instance, i don’t think he should have had to. Many of Ricciardo’s overtakes have looked similar though. One by Ricciardo in Italy 2017 on Bottas I think it was. He clearly relied on Bottas giving more than enough room or it will have eded badly. He has a risky style of overtaking that usually works, but rilies on other drivers being very aware of him.

      1. I don’t necessarily agree.
        He’s certainly made an art form of late braking and even in the RB car was prone to locking a wheel.
        The difference in this case was that his car slid far mor that he’s used to/anticipated which caused him to go much wider than he’d intended.
        It’s definitely a case of him not yet having full control of the car, something he’s going to have to come to grips with, because he just can’t do the sorts of things he’s capable of until he does.

        Pretty sure it’s going to be a very long season for him as I doubt Renault will be able to solve things or change things anywhere near as rapidly as RBR could.

        1. Red bull built very good cars when it comes to downforce and handling so for ricciardo who was a natural late braker he could take full benefit of it. Verstappen also did some very good braking performance in those cars. Not to mention the red bulls were very well dialed in as the team knew what ricciardo wanted. The renault is built without much of his inputs and the car also has less downforce and is not as well sorted out for him as the red bulls. Add to that different brake pads and maybe different carbon rotors plus the other hardware between the pedal and the pads and maybe different brake by wire settings and recharging tactics and it is going to be different. Red bull also spends more money into various things and for sure little more on the brakes as well.

      2. @thegianthogweed I think you are spot on. Not that a sudden change of a car doesn’t count, but the truth is Daniel isn’t known for a varied repertoire.

    3. lol @ “max potential”.

      I know it wasn’t meant that way, but it’d be a good way for a cheeky reporter to press Dan’s buttons :p

      1. @joeypropane – ha ha, I didn’t read it in that manner until you pointed it out. I hope/look forward to someone phrasing it like that in a future press conference.

  3. James Coulee
    2nd April 2019, 8:18

    I wonder if the Renaults have been developed to Hulkenerg’s driving style, and if it is different from Ricciardo’s…

    1. @James Coulee That could very well be it especially considering Ricciardo signed in August.

    2. I doubt it.
      I suspect it’s more a case of Renault not actually being able to deliver a car that handles anywhere near as well as his pervious employer. In fact Mclaren (using the same PU) seems to even be better at design than they are.

      Nico’s used to it and has been driving their car for a while now and no doubt has adjusted his style to be able to work with what he’s got. Dan’s got a way to go yet before he’s able to do the same and my guess is it’s harder to go from a good chassis to a bad one than it is to go from average to good.

      1. @dbradock Your last sentence sums up for me what happened to DR and SV in 2014. SV lost his WDC/WCC car and as a result felt lost, and DR stepped into the best car he’d ever had, and did not know what SV’s previous 4 cars had felt like in order to have felt any letdown in 2014 like SV did. An anomaly year for SV that still gets thrown in his face by several posters around here. I will always consider 2014 as understandable for SV. He didn’t suddenly forget how to win. DR didn’t suddenly learn how to beat WDC’s.

        1. anomaly was at the time, compared to his 4 then latest seasons.
          now we know he has some weak points on his skills that were first revealed back in ’14 and still you’re here making excuses for him out of nowhere.

          1. Actually he’s being something Vettel’s detractors are not: fair.
            Not only VET had a bad car, he also had bad luck. Apparently it only counts when it strikes HAM (who btw won a title because of an engine failure, yet the 2016 cry never ceases) or RIC.

        2. Very well put, @robbie ! Completely agreed.

        3. “Your last sentence sums up for me what happened to DR and SV in 2014.” – That was a completely different scenario. VET hadn’t changed team, RIC has (and did back then too, while HUL hasn’t now). The ’14 RB was an evolution of the all conquering ’13 RB, the ’19 REN clearly isn’t an evo of the ’18 RB. And the primary reason why there was such a big difference between the (relative) performances of the ’13 RB and the ’14 RB weren’t the chassis’, it was the (much bigger) REN deficit in the new engine era.
          And RIC, before last race, had less than half a GP distance under his belt, so no sense jumping into conclusions just yet.

          “DR didn’t suddenly learn how to beat WDC’s” – Well, then he must have learned it earlier then.

    3. @James. Leclerq jumped in and gave Vettel a hard time from race 1. And Ric already had 8 half days of testing, 6 FP and 2(1,5) races. I think it’s fair to say he had some time to adapt to his car. They pay him a large amount and as yet he’s not living up to the expectations. Or maybe the Hulk is a lot better then some people think.

    4. Think it’s more just a case of Ricc being used to the incredible braking capacity on the Red Bull, and needing time to get used to how the Renault copes with that.

    5. Very likely. But Red Bull have said that Renault’ PU characteristic is more suitable to Daniel than Max. Maybe it just his braking style didn’t match Renault brake, not anything else. Tost also once said that Daniel is more sensitive to the car than any other driver who has drive for his team. It could be mean that Daniel had less ability to adapt, but could also mean that he had more potential to maximizing the result when everything suit his liking. It’s up to Renault which driver they want to develop their car around.

      1. “But Red Bull have said that Renault’ PU characteristic is more suitable to Daniel than Max” – Daniel adapted better than Max.

        “Tost also once said that Daniel is more sensitive to the car than any other driver who has drive for his team.” – Tost, and others, always have an agenda. You may want to bring something very particular up bc it suits you, but referring to a 2015 narrative of the team boss of SAI and VER at that moment, doesn’t make any word of his hold any substance. He fired KVY while he had stated he considers KVY his 2nd best driver ever, only second to VET and above RIC, VER and SAI. Or when Horner last year said he considers VET his best driver ever, only to claim it was VER just 2 or 3 months later.

        “It could be mean that Daniel had less ability to adapt, but could also mean that he had more potential to maximizing the result when everything suit his liking.” – You gotta be kidding right? RIC is known to have (one of) the broadest skill set of the grid. Like for instance how he managed his MGU-K, brake and transmission problems last year during the Monaco GP for 2/3 of the race.
        It could mean that it was just another hollow political saying of yet another team boss.

  4. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    2nd April 2019, 8:36

    Renault showed some good pace this weekend, especially hulkenberg. Shame it had to end like this

  5. The most interesting pair on the grid. Everywhere Ricciardo goes the competition is fierce.

  6. And then obviously pretty heartbreaking for the team to lose both cars at the same time with three or something laps to go. Obviously I feel for them.

    Daniel was more worried about Renault than himself.

    1. Yes agree, he knows the fight for Renault this year is 4th in constructors, Renault need the 4th place prize money. Hence why he would rather see both Hulk and himself getting the points as a team. Its the only way they will improve.

  7. I’m a Dan fan. It’s not just a change of teams or issues with the car. To me the big issue forr Dan to master is that it’s a change from a situation of the influence of circumstance on character, to a requirement of the influence of character on circumstance. He can’t just tread water and wait for Renault to deliver the goods he has to be a prime mover in the advancement of the team. I dearly hope he can, and that Renault allow him, otherwise they may have bought the wrong man.

    1. For sure, we need to give DR our patience. We already knew Renault was not likely going to be a top 3 team this season, but they are a works team saying all the right things about improving in the long run. For DR and Hulk they simply need to put the hard work in and do their best and learn and grow all together as a team.

  8. Just Ricciardo being a “sore loser” by locking up and running into his teammate.

  9. He has gone from clearly the best chassis & low speed aero package on the grid to 5th or 6th. Yes, he needs to maximise his yield from the package, but until Renault provide a competitive package he’s going to struggle on the brakes into slow corners where in the RBR car he thrived.

  10. Why the need for the Kremlinology about some perfectly straightforward comments that can be taken at face value? Ricciardo needs more practice time.

    What we should be talking about is that this is yet another example of how limited testing makes it harder for smaller teams to compete, not easier. Entirely unlimited testing may be a step too far, but clearly the teams doing less well should be allowed extra testing days.

  11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    2nd April 2019, 13:25

    I like Ricciardo but so far he’s looked fairly terrible at Renault. Clearly that car’s not doing what his Red Bull used to, either because it’s just not as good or he’s lacking practice and personalisation with it. Then again Hulkenberg seems to make terrible cars look good, so maybe the Renault’s just bad and Ricciardo’s not used to driving a car of that quality? Too early to say.

  12. I think Daniel can do very well at Renault, give him four or five more races to settle in completely. If he can settle in sooner, then that’s even better.

    I don’t think either driver will “wipe the floor” with his teammate. I’m a big Hulk fan and have long wanted him to team up against a top tier driver, not only to confirm his true credentials, but also because something told me he’d relish the challenge. I want both Ricciardo and Hulkenberg to perform at their highest levels through the course of this year and bring in great results for Renault (if the car lasts the race distance), because that will do well for both. No harm done to Ricciardo’s reputation, and that way, Hulkenberg’s star rises as well. Ricciardo coming good will help Hulkenberg more than if the former’s struggles continue , because in the latter case, Hulkenberg will be compared to a driver who was “flattered by his Red Bull” and “overrated anyway”.

  13. I said it when I learned of DR’s move to Renault and I’ll say it again – the RBR chassis greatly enabled DR’s driving style. I really can’t imagine him having any kind of meaningful success with Renault. I understand they’re a works team, but when they can’t run their own engines correctly, and other teams are using their engines with a clearly superior chassis (McLaren – well done Norris!), what does that even mean?

    1. @knewman McLaren has a clearly superior chassis!? Last I checked, Hulkenberg was slightly faster than Norris in the race. Sainz may have challenged Verstappen, but the latter was clearly struggling on the softs…Ricciardo wasn’t far behind Sainz. Renault has been compromised in qualifying in both the races so far due to electronic issues, which is unacceptable, but at least they have good pace in the car. They need to sort out their reliability.

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