Daniel Ricciardo explains reasons behind AlphaTauri struggles in Las Vegas GP

Daniel Ricciardo and AlphaTauri failed to make any impact on the 2023 Las Vegas GP

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Daniel Ricciardo feels his struggles with tyre temperature were the cause behind his, and AlphaTauri’s, poor 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Ricciardo had secured a spot into the second part of Qualifying, qualifying 15th, beating teammate Yuki Tsunoda for the first time since October’s Mexico City GP.

With Lance Stroll given a five-place grid penalty for overtaking under yellow flags in FP3, Ricciardo was promoted to 14th on the grid, but the Australian could not make progress and finished in the same position, enduring a miserable race.

“I was coming to the race optimistic, there was still a bit of a reality that maybe it will be okay, maybe it won’t, unfortunately, maybe it wasn’t,” explained Ricciardo to the media.

“We knew race starts and restarts we would struggle because we definitely missed something here this weekend getting the tyre working on the slippery asphalt when it’s still cold.

“But even with that, I felt okay, after a couple of laps, we’ll get some temperature and then be able to kind of get back on to the pack, but we never really got there, and I think the restarts didn’t help us but, that’s not an excuse it’s just something that we lacked this weekend.

“I think once it settled [down], there were a few cars fading at the end of the race, so we had a little bit more pace than them. But we still weren’t [one of] the top 10 cars.

“So unfortunate. I’m going to go glass half full, our rivals didn’t score, so it gives us a little glimmer of hope next week to still have a crack [at 7th place in the constructors championship]. But a bit of a long old race, and especially on restarts, we went backwards.”

Daniel Ricciardo of AlphaTauri during 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Race start time needs changing for next year

With cold temperatures on race weekend and a track surface mainly used for civilian traffic, drivers struggled with grip throughout proceedings.

Charles Leclerc nearly crashed into the wall under the safety car when trying to warm his tyres up, whilst Turn 3 was an area of the circuit where grip was at a premium.

The weekend’s timetable also came under criticism due to sessions starting between 10 pm and midnight local time, with the heavily delayed second practice session finishing in the early hours of Friday morning.

“I don’t know what they can do with track opening times, but if they do have flexibility, yes,” stated Ricciardo.

“I think for everyone’s health and safety, bring it forward, maybe [for] a bit of temperature, but also, just everyone would be operating with a little bit more juice in the tank.

“So that’s that, and yeah, hope maybe they could do something to the surface. I know in Saudi they pressure wash it. So maybe they could do some treatment to it to make it a bit more abrasive.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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