The long straights in Montreal and the low downforce configuration of the STR6 allowed Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo to drive faster than he ever has before - which, he told us afterwards, was very nice.
How did you like your first taste of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
It was absolutely awesome! Now I understand what everyone has been talking about. Walking the track or driving it on the simulator, it honestly doesn’t seem as good as it really is. You can tell the chicanes and stuff are going to be exciting but you don’t really know how much until you do it. It’s really more than I thought - and I loved it. It’s cool when you can get on a circuit and really attack it, using the kerbs and getting close to the walls; it gives the driver a real feeling of owning the car - which is good fun. It was a very enjoyable session in that respect and it’s a shame I won’t get more laps, because I’d really like another go around here! I’m eager to get back out and beat up those chicanes.
Obviously this isn’t a circuit you’d ever get to drive in F3 or WSR, does that make it more useful?
Yeah, I think it does. It’s nice to get lots of laps at a circuit that I haven’t driven before, compared to somewhere like Barcelona where I’ve done plenty of laps in the past and it’s easy to get into a rhythm. I’d guess it’s more beneficial to get a long run here, so that if I come back in the future - which I hope to do - I’ll have it in my mind and take some confidence from that.
'Whether it’s 310kph or 325kph it’s bloody fast either way.'
Is driving the car with the medium-low downforce setup a fundamentally different experience to what you’ve experienced so far?
This is the lowest I’ve ever ran in an F1 car, but I think because it’s a new circuit for me as well, I wasn’t really able to tell what was an effect of the aero and what was an effect of the circuit - so feeling the car moving around under me a bit more than usual under braking, I couldn’t really say if that was the lower downforce or simply down to the level of grip on the asphalt. Maybe it’s a good thing that it’s still all new to me. One thing I would say is that, because the downforce is lower here, you do feel the car become a little more unstable at high speed, so that can give you a bit more a feeling of going fast. Not in a scary way - in a good way!
Presumably that’s the fastest you’ve ever driven in a Formula One car?
Yep, I think so! I think we were up around 325kph on the back straight, and I think Jaime [Alguersuari] and Seb [Buemi] will get the car moving even faster as the weekend progresses. It brings a bit of a smile to your face but honestly, once you’re over 300kph, it really stops making a difference whether it’s 310kph or 325kph it’s bloody fast either way.