Daniel Ricciardo says he is confident that Toro Rosso
won't slip behind Caterham in the F1 pecking order, despite Heikki Kovalainen
beating both the Australian and his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne in qualifying in Valencia last time out.
Caterham is set to introduce a new upgrade at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix
in an effort to try and make strides into the midfield, with Toro Rosso
seen by some as the team most at risk of slipping back down the order as a result.
However, Ricciardo said he was sure that he wasn't worried about the potential threat of Caterham and wasn't concerned about struggling to make it through the first stage of qualifying ahead of the former Lotus squad.
"No, not at all,” he told ESPNF1
. “Although I do believe they've got some more updates for Silverstone - some that they are quite modest about - and it will probably work and they had good pace in Valencia.
"I think with overall pace we're still a fair bit in front, it's just the qualifying we have to soak a bit more out of. I think it's between us drivers and also understanding a bit more with the tyres. But then our race pace still seems to be quite a bit stronger than theirs.
“I think if we don't get on top of our qualifying they will have more opportunities to be in front of us, but I still think our race pace will clearly be better than theirs."
So far this season, Ricciardo has been the stronger qualifier of the Toro Rosso
pairing, although he said the rivalry between himself and Vergne was healthy as the duo try to push the team forwards.
“I guess the first thing is that you look at your team-mate, but if we're 17th and 18th then even if I'm 0.3s or 0.4s quicker than him it's not going to give me a great sense of satisfaction,” he said. “I think we've always got to push for more. He's had some strong races and I think the last few have been stronger.
"I'm finding a bit more, which is good for the Sunday, so that's encouraging. If I can keep working this way then in qualifying I think I've already got a bit of an edge and in the race hopefully I can run away and get my nose clean in front. But in saying that, we can't really afford to try to push each other down because as a team we've got to try and get each other up. The rivalry is pretty good at the moment. I'd say it's healthy."