Ricciardo learning 'new skills' in F1's tight midfield

© XPB 

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo says that racing among F1's midfield pack this season has cast a new light on his skills as a driver, allowing him to improve his "lap one" racecraft.

Ricciardo, a veteran of 169 Grands Prix starts, has battled for most of his career among the front-runners thanks to the competitive equipment supplied to him by Red Bull Racing.

But the Aussie's move to Renault has pushed the 30-year-old down the order into Grand Prix racing's tight midfield, where congestion at the start of Sunday's race is commonplace.

"It's also allowed me to work on my lap-one racecraft," said Ricciardo, quoted by Motorsport.com.

"I think my racecraft in general and my overtaking through the race isn't bad, but my lap one stuff, now starting in the midfield, there have been times where I haven't made the best decision into Turn 1, and after the fact I'm 'I could have done that better'.

"So, I'm learning, being in the midfield, and that's cool. I don't want to be here forever, but it's a new skill I'm learning a bit which I didn't have to do for the last few years."

Ricciardo's current inability to challenge for race wins has forced him to derive his satisfaction on race weekends from other achievements, like finishing 'best of the rest' behind F1's unassailable leaders, or extracting the most from Renault's potential.

"I'll always leave a racetrack happy and fulfilled if I know I've got everything out of it," he explained.

"Yes, I won't lie, that is heightened by taking home a trophy or a bottle of champagne, but there's also been podiums I got where I wasn't actually completely satisfied with how I drove.

"So a podium isn't everything, but for sure if you've done the best you can, and you do take something home, that's better.

"The high will never be as high, and finishing fourth in Monza was a huge result, but I still wasn't standing on the podium. So I'm not going out and running around the streets naked!

"But as far as my personal fulfilment that's really meeting everything I need if I leave the race knowing I got everything out of it.

"It's probably just a bit of fame and TV time with a podium, but I think you know within yourself if you've got everything you can. It's enough for now, in the position I'm in."

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