Last season, the Canadian Grand Prix was one to remember for Daniel Riccardo. This year, it’ll be one he’d like to forget.
On a circuit notoriously suited for horsepower and minimal downforce, Red Bull Racing’s RB11 was found severely lacking in the performance stakes when it came to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at the weekend.
Ricciardo stood proudly atop the podium 12 months ago after winning his first race in Montreal, but this time around he limped home to an uninteresting 13th place after a similarly unmemorable weekend.
“It’s been a strange weekend for me,” he said. “I am a little confused about the race. I was lacking pace and we are not sure why. There was nothing that felt especially wrong but we just couldn’t get any pace out of the car.
“I had a few set-up changes compared to Dany but that doesn’t explain the difference in pace. It is something we will look at to understand what the cause was.”
Team mate Daniil Kvyat didn’t fare much better, picking up two points for ninth place, but it was a weekend which exposed Red Bull’s shortfalls.
Last time out in Monaco, Red Bull achieved their best results of the year, with Kvyat taking fourth ahead of Ricciardo in fifth. But the Principality is known as a great leveller, and it turned out to be the case as the F1 paddock moved over the Atlantic to Canada.
Mercedes-powered cars were the order of the weekend around Montreal, with Force India and Lotus finding themselves pitched up the running order courtesy of the grunt in their engines, all at the expense of the team from Tilbrook, who were staring at lower end points finishes from the first free practice session.
Qualifying mirrored that too, with Kvyat in eighth leading home his team-mate one place back.
Both lost places during the course of the race, but circulated in fairly anonymous fashion, unable to compete with those ahead.
Kvyat’s two-point haul for his ninth place was as much as the team could muster.
“It was a difficult race for the team today,” said boss Christian Horner afterwards. “We simply did not have the pace to make any progress.
“Having said that, Dany did a very good job all weekend to salvage a couple of points and that was the maximum we could achieve today. Daniel struggled for pace all weekend, which is unusual for him so we’ll now have an in-depth look at that to see what might have caused it.”
Kvyat, who finished ahead of his team-mate for the second race in succession, said: “It was a tough race because the Mercedes powered cars had a clear advantage over us, but we managed to keep two of them behind us today which is the maximum we could have done.
“Two championship points is the best we could have achieved.
“The team did a good job but we obviously have to improve in many areas including the power unit.”