Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that there is much work to do on his side of the Red Bull garage if he is to recover from an unusual midfield position after the opening day of practice for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Australian, who has become accustomed to leading the charge behind the two Mercedes drivers, was only twelfth fastest on Friday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and some 1.5secs off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton, but remained hopeful that a concerted effort behind the scenes could change his fortunes overnight.

"We're in the middle of the timesheets, so we've got some work to do, but I think we've got some good references to go by," he reasoned, "We've got to put some more work into it tonight than we had hoped, but that's what practice is for.

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"I don't feel at home with the car but, at the same time, I don't feel that we're a second-and-a-half off [the pace]. We've got a bit to understand, but the positive thing is that Seb [Vettel] put in a quick one, so at least we can see what is going on there and try to see where we are in comparison [to him] and see where I need to work.

"You need to feel comfortable [around this circuit], particularly jumping off the kerbs. You need to feel that the car is working with you and let's say that, at times, I felt it was working against me. It's that correlation between me and the car that we need to make a little easier for tomorrow."

With his position in the pecking order lower than anticipated, and times behind the Mercedes duo quite closely matched, Ricciardo - who admitted to 'kissing' the barriers once during the morning session - suggested that qualifying could be a close-run thing.

"It seems pretty close - and I think there are a few teams that can challenge for, if not the front row, then at least the second row," he confirmed, "If Mercedes lock out the front row, then I think there's going to be a bigger battle [behind] and it's not going to come easy. It seems a bit more even this week and we've just got to try and extract a bit more out of [the car] to ensure that we're in front. Today we didn't and we've just got to work on that.

"I think, if we get it right, we can definitely challenge them but, as I said, it's really close and, if we don't get it right, then we're going to be a long way back as we've seen today. We've got to make sure we nail it."