Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says drivers are simply “a passenger” in their car if they can’t get their tyres to work, as was the case on many occasions so far this weekend in Istanbul.
The newly-resurfaced track caused problems with generating tyre temperature on Friday, while the situation was further complicated on Saturday amid wet weather.
While Ricciardo acknowledges that wet conditions often places further emphasis on a driver’s skill to deliver a strong result, the Australian says the challenging surface this weekend has made that aspect much more difficult.
“The wet normally allows a driver to shine and take a bit more risk and push the car a few spots up the grid,” Ricciardo said.
“But it is so much on that bottom edge with a level of grip we are working with and with the compounds they brought.
“If the tyre works you are literally seconds faster, so you can certainly look like more of a hero, but if they work they are in and if they are not you are a passenger.
“I certainly had my fair share of runs this weekend when I was a passenger. It is tricky.
“Yesterday on the Hard tyre I told the guys: ‘Look at the tyres, they’re too hard, I cannot get it to work. We have to go to the medium’. But they said that ‘Vettel has made it work and he is 10 seconds quicker you’.
“I’m sure there are still some things the driver can do to have a bit of an effect here, don’t get me wrong.
“It is so extreme that if it is not working you can be the greatest of all time and it is just not going to happen for you.”
Despite his struggles, Ricciardo managed to secure the fifth fastest lap time, while team-mate Esteban Ocon joined him in the top 10, settling for seventh.
Ricciardo admits he exceeded his expectations as he out-qualified both Mercedes cars, whose run of 14 consecutive pole positions came to an end.
“Not to sound conservative but I am happy with that,” Ricciardo said. “It was tricky even yesterday as well and even this morning the few laps I got, I didn’t really think I was a fifth-place guy or car.
“I am happy. Esteban was willing to try the Inter (tyre) and it did not work for him. If you’re able to get the tyre going and obviously they could, they were very quick, but we were not on that level.”