Bahrain Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has played down the pace demonstrated in the RB13 during Friday’s practice sessions.
With conditions comparable to those expected for qualifying and the race, Ricciardo was able to set the third fastest time in free practice two. He was 0.066 seconds away from pace-setter Sebastian Vettel.
However, with Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton unable to set competitive times on their first laps on supersoft tyres, the Australian believes the Red Bull pace looks slightly deceptive.
“Today was good. FP1 is always a tricky one here in order to set the car up, because it’s so hot and the race is so cool so you have to be careful not to get carried away with what you learn during that first session,” said Ricciardo.
“FP2 looked alright though. Normally the grip gets a lot better when the track cools down in the late afternoon, so that helped but the wind changed and the way the wind turned actually made the track slower. I think the low fuel pace looks competitive, but probably too competitive for now.
“I do like it but I expect Ferrari and Mercedes to sneak further ahead tomorrow. But in general it was a good day. We couldn’t really ask for more. The long runs looked like they had a bit more pace so that was probably a bit more representative.”
Conversely, Max Verstappen struggled with the setup of his car before striking a ‘T-wing’ which had detached from Valtteri Bottas’ car.
“I was struggling a bit with the balance today and I didn’t quite have the grip I wanted from the rear of the car,” said Verstappen.
“The first practice you cannot really count or read into because of the high temperatures but now in FP2 I lost track time after hitting someone’s T-wing. It was unfortunate and to be honest I’m surprised how much damage it actually did to the floor.
“The team did a great job to change it so quickly and check the car over before I went back out on track.”