Despite grid penalty likely looming, Ricciardo has nowhere to go but up in Austria

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Daniel Ricciardo entered Austria a year ago on the strength of an emotional, popular first Grand Prix victory in Montreal a fortnight earlier.

This year, the Australian has had to reset expectations heading into Red Bull’s home race at the Red Bull Ring, but he is doing better than he was at Canada, he told NBCSN’s Will Buxton on Thursday.

“[I was] a little bit emotional. But obviously I’ve reset since then,” Ricciardo told NBCSN. “I’m not gonna hope or expect a massive weekend for us. This is not a strong suit for us. But I just have to make sure to get the best out of it and do better than Canada.”

Ricciardo is facing a potential grid penalty for a change of power units, and while no decision is official yet, it seems likely they will opt to take the penalty.

“Yeah at least we’ll have some cars to overtake,” he told NBCSN. “I don’t think we’ll be alone. We’ll charge up the front, and hopefully have something to smile about.”

He added to that bit during the Thursday press conference.

“It’s likely. We’re definitely looking into it,” he said. “I think we’ll have a decision probably by this evening as to what we’ll do this weekend. It’s likely we’ll take a penalty here. If it’s not here it’s in the next few. We have to see as well what chance we have coming up in Silverstone and Budapest. Wouldn’t be a surprise if we see it here but probably a few hours away from a decision.”

Ricciardo reflected further on the change in vibe 12 months later within himself, and within the team.

“I think that now it’s… yeah, we’re in a different position this year. Obviously a massive high. I think sitting at this press conference last year… I think it’s just reassess and re-evaluate our, or my, let’s say, expectations for what we’re capable of at the moment,” he said.

“And yeah, obviously I experienced some of the lows in Canada and then after that weekend I looked back on it all and said ‘OK, we have to, unfortunately for now, lower the bar and just try to not really look at the big picture of getting a podium or getting inside the top five, it’s just making sure we can just maximise our weekend for now and try and bring the team forwards as quick as possible.

“I know there’s lots of updates coming, some have worked more than others – but obviously we’re still pushing, we’re still trying. Like all things, they do take time, I think. You hope it turns around quicker but that’s the nature of the sport sometimes. Just learn to be a bit more patient I guess, and just make sure at least that I’m maximising my weekend.

“Obviously Canada wasn’t a good weekend, so just try and get back, let’s say, on the front foot this weekend and whatever position it puts us in, we’ll accept it and just try and keep the head down and more forwards.”