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Baby steps for Ricciardo

NEWS STORY
30/07/2011

Mat Coch writes:

A rueful Daniel Ricciardo is annoyed to have missed out on a higher spot on the grid in today's qualifying session. The Australian will start 23rd, one spot ahead of Jerome d'Ambrosio's Virgin, the first time in his short career he's not been the slowest qualifier.

"We've moved up a spot on the grid, which is nice," he told Pitpass after the session. "It's a bit frustrating though because all the times between us back four are all pretty close. I've got one up, but I could quite easily have had two up, or three up."

Just two-tenths separated him from Glock, while teammate Liuzzi only bettered the Australian's time by a tenth in the closing moments of Q1. "I was hoping, hoping to get him by a little bit," Ricciardo admits. "I guess that's a bit of experience, really getting the most out of it when it matters in qualifying. It's something I'll definitely learn."

With just two races under his belt, and talking about growing himself in to Formula One slowly, Ricciardo's disappointment was clear, even if the trademark smile remained. "To get to Formula One you have to be quite a competitive person," he says. "I won't let it get to me, but I would have been happier being a spot or two up the grid. I think it's alright to be a bit hard on myself sometimes. It will probably make me learn a bit quicker and try and find that extra tenth I need for next time. I'm hoping it's going to come sooner rather later."

Ricciardo's next challenge will be tomorrow's race. The tight and twisty Hungaroring has seen the performance difference between those at the front and the rear of the field exaggerated, meaning the Hispania driver will likely see blue flags more regularly than at some other circuits.

"Once you start getting blue flags in a race it does give you an extra duty to take care of, and be aware of, during the race. As much as you're trying to put in your best lap you've got to watch your mirrors and not destroy someone else's race or chance of a podium.

"It'll be a little bit tough tomorrow because the circuit's so tight and twisty, and to get off line you're getting on a lot of marbles. I think there's going to be a few key spots where you can do it and lose much less time, but at the end of the day if the leaders are coming at us in a particular spot, then we're forced to yield and let them go."

The Red Bull backed youngster is now looking to develop his racecraft, revealing he's now prepared to be more aggressive in the opening exchanges, while looking to build a stronger overall race. "I can be a little more aggressive on the first lap now, and if there's a move I hope to try and take it. I feel I've got the pace now to race with the guys I'm racing against. We'll see how it goes after that, but I'm quite confident I can manage the tyres at least as well as my competitors.

"It's just baby steps for now," he laughs, "I think that's really where we've got to aim for"

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