Montreal: One year on from his maiden Formula One victory, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is back at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada during the first practice session for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix, on Friday. Pic/AFP
But instead of relishing a chance to add to his wins tally at one of his favourite circuits, he is lamenting the lack of progress made by his Red Bull team and complaining about their lack of competitive speed. The Aussie qualified ninth on Saturday for Sunday's race, but afterwards blasted the former champion team for their failings - and said they had lost 'the key' to unlock more pace from their RB11 cars.
"I remember sitting here at this table a year ago, being about as pissed off as I am now, so maybe it means something," he said on Saturday night in Montreal. Twelve months ago, a poor qualifying run preceded his race to glory and triumph. "We just can't seem to get a sweet spot, which brings out the frustrations," he added.
"The last few races we've had updates, but to be honest they haven't really done anything for us. I don't think we really know what we need right now or where to find it."
Need to move forward
He added: "We are trying, but we are not getting much in return. We probably need to take a step back and look somewhere else, or try and see if there is something fundamental we are missing. "Obviously on the power side we know where that is, but on the chassis side there's something there which we can't grab onto which we had last year.
"I don't think we have moved forward this year. We haven't found anything that has been the key yet. The Australian won three races last year to finish a strong third in the drivers' championship, but this season has yet to deliver a podium finish. New team-mate Russian Daniil Kvyat finished fourth in last month's Monaco Grand Prix, but he has also struggled as the team battles through a transitional period following German Sebastian Vettel's departure to Ferrari.
Seasoned paddock observers have also pointed at other factors for the team's slide including technical chief and design inspiration Adrian Newey's decreasing interest with the team and the distractions in team chief Christian Horner's life following his relationship and marriage with pop singer Geri Halliwell.