May 30, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
Daniel Ricciardo believes that the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal is one of the most demanding races on the calendar, requiring an extra edge that drivers may not need at other circuits.
The Australian driver has made a sensational start to the season, having joined Red Bull from Toro Rosso at the beginning of the year. Despite initial concerns about his suitability for the world champions, he has scored two podium finishes in 2014, and is ahead of world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship.
Heading to Montreal, Ricciardo is keen on scoring his third consecutive podium finish at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but is aware of the challenge that he faces.
“I doubt anyone on the grid lacks motivation, but there’s definitely a little extra edge to it at some circuits,” Ricciardo explained. “They tend to be the ones that demand the most from you and hold real consequences from getting it wrong. Montreal definitely falls into that category.
“Each of the chicanes – the hairpin too – is an opportunity to make up, or lose, time but the crucial corner is probably the last one: you arrive at top speed so there’s a lot to be gained in braking if you get that just right, and then the way you go over the kerbs is worth more time.”
The final chicane at Montreal is infamous for claiming a number of high-profile scalps over the years. In 1999, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill all crashed on the exit of the corner, resulting in the wall being dubbed the “Wall of Champions”. Since then, another 12 drivers have ended their races in that wall.
“It’s a clear choice: some guys will play it safe and sacrifice half a tenth to get through there cleanly; others who will take a risk and go flat out trying to find a little bit,” Ricciardo said.
“The nearer you are, the faster you’ll go. Give the wall a kiss and you feel pretty good. Kiss it too hard and that’s it!”
In recent years, Lewis Hamilton has dominated proceedings at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, winning three of the last six races there. Although a win may not be on the cards, Ricciardo will be hoping that he can excel in Canada and continue his superb start to the season.