Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo admits he is perplexed by his car’s performance after an “awful” Bahrain Grand Prix.
“Today’s lap chart makes pretty grim reading,” he admitted after the race. “I had the slowest lap of the race, eight-tenths slower than one of the Marussias and I finished the race only 9s clear of one of the Caterhams.”
“As I haven’t forgotten how to drive in the last seven days, there’s something wrong with the car that we need to understand. That performance has gone somewhere.
“It has to be something big – but not necessarily something easy to find. There’s a variable in there that we have to dig out.”
Ricciardo finished a lapped sixteenth having scored a career-best seventh in China one week earlier.
“Last week was a great result and it was always going to be difficult to repeat it,” said Ricciardo. “Our pace on Friday wasn’t good – though not to the extent that we saw in the race – and we didn’t see anything to suggest we were going to be strong.”
Toro Rosso expected big gains from their STR8 after reshuffling their design team last year. But Ricciardo says their results so far have been mixed:
“Looking at these first four races as a whole, we haven’t really found a happy medium. China was great, the other three haven’t been up to scratch, so it’s difficult to assess where we are.
“Something to look forward to is that the next race, in Barcelona, is likely to be a little bit more like China than any of the others. We’ll also have updates on the car in Spain, which will be good.”