Forced to do an advanced pit-stop, he recovered a race, it was going uphill, with a couple of fantastic overtakes using those troubles faced by Hamilton and Vettel to win.
When he was forced to do a pit-stop at the end of fifth lap, due to some debris collected after the incident between Raikkonen and Bottas which finished inside his grill of brakes, Daniel Ricciardo thought it was the end and nothing good might happen at Baku. In fact, along the week-end he has not been very lucky, he was forced to start from 10th place on the grid. His team-mate, Max Verstappen, was at a great 4th place during that period of time. Finally, a couple of situations changed completely the final result at GP of Azerbaijan
Our Australian driver recovered an astonishing amount of positions lap after lap, using in a very clever way those possibilities created by safety-car and a red flag. He decided to use at every change a couple of super-soft but the winning movement, it has been that incredible braking at the first corner where he overtook three pilots at once, becoming third in just a moment. When Hamilton and Vettel experienced some troubles, this third place converted in a wonderful victory: number 53 for Red Bull team.
“I never had a boring victory and this time could not be different. Just after all that chaos and a red-flag, I believed a podium was possible. When Lewis and Seb had to stop, I realized I might win. I told yesterday, after my mistake during qualifying and a tenth position: today, I am going to do a race without any mistake! I wanted to capitalize any situation or opportunity, so I think I did whatever I could…
My hope was almost dead when we had to do a pit-stop which was not planned. I think I was on position 17th after that stop. After that, everything changed on our way, so I was capable to recover many positions after every restart. Last one has been very important, we were four pilots side by side: me, Stroll, Hulkenberg and Massa. I was capable to become third so I believe that was a winning movement.
After, I just gave anything I got to keep my position. It is a pity Max could not finish his race but I thinkt today it has been a great day for the entire team.
I truly believe, this week-end has been one of the best we ever had this year. In general, I think me and Max, we can finish both on the podium soon.
What amazing week-end we had! “
Another important factor which helped Red Bull team during Baku race, it was an improvement of performance obtained by Renault’s power-unit. In fact, a couple of smiles are coming back on Taffin’s face (Main director of Renault racing). They got a rare gratitude from Helmut Marko, who has never been too soft in the last years. There is still a bit of work to do about reliability because a collapse of oil pressure on the car of Max Verstappen forced the Dutch to drop-out. In Canada, he got a problem with his battery therefore there is still something to do but this time in Renault, they believe to be on the right path:
“It is true, at Baku we were capable to get a better performance from our engine. We got the level of reliability we wanted. It is clear we are still racing with some components introduced last year because the new ones are still not very reliable.
If you got a problem with reliability and you are capable to fix it, you can push harder: that is the reason we move forward component after component. If you are in a defensive mode, you must reduce your performance level and when you recover your performance then you can go ahead. This is what we did so far. Today, it is not necessary to do big revolutions on your hardware when you want to improve you engine.
On the second part of our season, we will focus to improve our reliability to get everything we can from our thermal engine. In this way, we can get our maximum performance from our power-unit too. We believe, it will be possible to obtain the maximum energy to deliver to our battery area. We will see what kind of improvements we will get in the near future.
At the same time, a new kind of fuel and lubricant are going to arrive. This is going to help us even more, while we will introduce new components we set aside at the beginning”
A count of the power-units used this season, it is giving an inconvenient position to Palmer, Kvyat and Sainz. There is a risk to see them penalized. So far, Palmer used four turbo, three thermal engines and MGU-H, Sainz used 3 MGU-H, Kvyat three thermal engines. At the end, reliability is the only problem that Renault has not fixed, yet. There is not this huge gap with Ferrari or Mercedes anymore. Hopefully, they will find a solution pretty soon so our Daniel will drive a more competitive car because he has already proved to be a very good driver capable to battle for a victory when there is a chance to do it.