Red Bull formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo gives a thumbs up after finishing second at the Australian GP two weeks ago, before being disqualified for a fuel infringement. - EPA
SEPANG: It would have been a wonderful debut in his own backyard, but Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is not sulking over his disqualification in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne two weeks ago.
Instead, it has only made him more determined to put up a good showing in the Petronas Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Sepang this weekend.
Ricciardo came in a splendid second behind Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg in Melbourne but was stripped of the points because his car was using more fuel than permitted. There is a 100kg per hour fuel flow rate limit imposed on F1 this season. Red Bull have since filed an appeal and it will be deliberated in Paris on April 14.
It was a dismal start for Red Bull as team-mate Sebastian Vettel also failed to finish the race in Melbourne due to a mechanical issue.
Ricciardo, however, is upbeat about Red Bull’s chances in Sepang.
“Whatever the outcome in Melbourne, I still feel really good about my performance. It would have been nice to get the 18 points but I’m happy that I still stood on the podium and that was a great feeling.
“I know I did a good job and I can take that with me to the next race in Malaysia,” said the 24-year-old, who drove for Toro Rosso for the last two seasons before getting his big break with Red Bull.
Sepang is not an unfamiliar track to Ricciardo, having drove at the circuit during his Formula BMW Asia Series days in 2006.
“One thing you have to take into account is the heat. I first drove at Sepang when I was 16. Until you’ve experienced the heat in the cockpit, it isn’t something you can fully appreciate, no matter what people tell you. I was drinking six litres of fluid a day and I still suffered.
“It’s something you prepare for better as you come back again and again, though it’s still one of the most physically-challenging races. If you’re not correctly prepared, then the last 20 laps will be difficult and the physicality of the race can hit your concentration in those latter stages,” added Ricciardo, the winner of the British Formula 3 Championship in 2009 and then signed by Toro Rosso the following year as a reserve driver.