Daniel Ricciardo has explained how the unforgiving nature of Suzuka Circuit means that there is no room for error at next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo currently ranks third in the drivers’ championship after a sensational first season with Red Bull Racing. He has claimed three race wins and outshone illustrious teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2014, and still has a slim chance of winning the world championship if both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg hit trouble in the final five races of the year.
Speaking ahead of next weekend’s race at Suzuka, Ricciardo made his love for the circuit clear, echoing Vettel’s sentiments from earlier this week.
“Suzuka is all good, but for me the first sector is just a delight,” the Australian explained. “It’s a dream. You have those fast changes of directions through the Esses, hard around the Dunlop Curve and then, arguably the best bit, turns eight and nine: Degner.
“Through eight you’re hanging on, it’s so narrow and there’s no room for error but you want to push as hard as you can. Then just as you straighten up the car, you’re on the brakes, throwing it into this cambered right-hander and hoping you’ve got it right because if you haven’t then it’s all over.
“Getting to do that 53 times in a row is a pretty good way to earn a living. What you maybe don’t see on TV is that it’s a real rollercoaster, dropping into valleys and climbing up again, so that you’re rarely on a level surface.”
Ricciardo has exceeded all expectations during his third season in Formula 1, flourishing at Red Bull after stepping up from Toro Rosso at the end of last season.
Although it will take a remarkable collapse from Mercedes for Ricciardo to become world champion, finishing third in the drivers’ standings will still be a commendable achievement for one of 2014’s breakout stars.