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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo runs rule over potential game changer with five-race plan outlined

Daniel Ricciardo is out-performing Yuki Tsunoda for pace for the first time this season at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Ricciardo China
To news overview © XPBimages

Daniel Ricciardo is pleased to be enjoying his "best weekend" of the season so far at the Chinese Grand Prix, with him finally sensing a return to normality.

The RB driver has endured a disappointing start to the season which has seen him massively out-performed by Yuki Tsunoda; however, it is the Australian on top at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Ricciardo finished ahead of Tsunoda in the sprint race and qualified comfortably ahead of him. Tsunoda could only salvage P19 in qualifying, whilst Ricciardo narrowly missed out on Q3 after ending Q2 as 12th fastest.

Of course, the 34-year-old does have a new chassis this weekend in China which perhaps is the reasoning for his newfound confidence, although he does not want to put his improvement down to that just yet.

Nevertheless, when asked by RacingNews365 if he has noticed a difference, Ricciardo said: "Let's see. I will say yes, but it's one track. But yes, to be black and white with it for now, yes."

A five-race plan has been devised by Ricciardo and the Red Bull sister squad to decide on whether the new chassis is an improvement or whether Shanghai is simply a circuit he performs well at.

"Yeah, definitely it feels like a more normal weekend," Ricciardo noted.

"I would say from the get-go from yesterday morning, we kind of just felt like we're in a better place and everything came I don't want to say easier because that sounds too easy, but it just kind of came a bit more seamlessly so far this weekend.

"So it's encouraging, obviously, we did change the chassis, so I don't want to jump on that and be like, it's definitely that. I think, obviously, we need to prove that over the course of a few races.

"That was obviously something that we did change this weekend, and so far it's been my best weekend of the year. So whether it's that or whether it's just I've always kind of done well around here, we'll see. We'll see in Miami and Imola and maybe the next few if it continues."

No different approach

In terms of changes to Ricciardo's car for the weekend, the eight-time race winner confirmed that apart from the new chassis, RB has made minimal setup changes.

Starting Sunday's race in 12th and with the likes of Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas ahead of him, Ricciardo appears to have a genuine chance at scoring his first points of the season.

"No, not really, in terms of this circuit it's typically a bit more of a front-limited circuit," explained Ricciardo. "So it's a little different to kind of probably the majority of tracks in terms of the setup on that.

"I'd be lying if I said we changed much this weekend, a little few tweaks here and there but it's nothing crazy. Let's see, but so far, it feels more everything's gone more normal. And right now normal is good."

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