For the second time this year, Daniel Ricciardo was out qualified by his new Russian team mate and for the second race in a row, he came in second of the red Bull pairing.
Ricciardo laughed his way through the post-race interviews, though his demeanour was more one of incredulity rather than the usual bonne home we have come to expect from the Aussie.
Just twelve months ago, Ricciardo won the race in Montreal. “It’s frustrating, obviously a year ago here was a bit different. One year later things shouldn’t be getting that much worse, but they are so it’s like that for now”.
Cyril Abiteboul’s claims that Red Bull’s woes were not merely engine related were borne out by Ricciardo’s revelations.
“Obviously it’s also power limitation, but we didn’t go quicker in Q3. In Q1 and Q2 we did a build lap, and then a push, but it felt like it was taking too much out of the tyre.
“For Q3 we just tried to hit it on the first timed lap, we’ve got downforce and whatnot, but the tyres weren’t ready – they were nowhere. We just can’t seem to get a sweet spot, to get on top of it.”
The magic of Adrian Newey appears to have departed the Milton Keynes outfit, who were once renown for the pace and progression of their in season development
“The last few races, we’ve had updates but, to be honest, they haven’t really done anything for us,” he said. “I don’t think we all really know what we need right now, or where to find it. We’re trying but we’re not getting much in return.
“In a way we’ll probably have to take a step back in terms of look somewhere else to see if there’s something fundamental missing.
“On the power side, we know what that is, but on the chassis side there is something there we can’t grab onto – which we had last year.
“We weren’t perfect last year, but we haven’t really moved forward this year. It’s not through lack of trying, we even tried something pretty big yesterday morning on my car, but nothing seems to be working.”
However, Christian Horner refutes Ricciardo’s accusations about the RB11 chassis.
“We are making progress with the chassis. We have brought development and improvements to the chassis since Malaysia at each grand prix, and we have a lot more in the pipeline through the year”.
Yet Horner admits the Nirvana of the new short nose – which was crash tested ad nauseum – doesn’t appear to have delivered for Red Bull racing.
“I think we still have a weakness in the slow speed corners compared to the characteristics of last year’s car, and the nose regulation changes have affected us in that area, but the guys are getting a good grip on that now and getting a good handle on it, and over the next few races we should see further steps.”
Christian believes Ricciardo’s issues in Montreal were down to failing to find the right set-up.
“All weekend he has been out of the window here. So we will have a good post mortem of it and try to understand.
We went up on the downforce on his car to try to help him with that, which should have given him better low speed performance, but for some reason he has damaged the tyres more and worn them in a different way – to the way Kvyat has”.
Questions were being asked by senior managers in Milton Keynes about the Russian driver’s long term future with Red Bull – just two months ago.
Horner believes Daniil Kvyat maximised his opportunity in Montreal, concluding “Kvyat did a super job, he carried on his form from Monaco and that confidence has followed through here and he got everything there was from the car today.”
Having to correct Ricciardo’s candid point of view, is nothing new for Christian Horner. After all, Red Bull have a penchant for Aussie drivers.