Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull is not close enough to the front of the grid after qualifying fifth for the German Grand Prix.
Having been a close third to the two Mercedes car after Friday practice, Ricciardo was confident that Red Bull could give the championship leaders “a little push” on Saturday. However, while Lewis Hamilton crashed out in Q1, Nico Rosberg was 0.7s quicker than Ricciardo as the two Williams cars and Kevin Magnussen also jumped the Red Bulls, leaving Ricciardo disappointed.
“Throughout the qualifying session I was not too comfortable, I was struggling a little bit and I knew I had to pull something out in Q3,” Ricciardo said. “We tweaked the wing a little bit and tried a bit with tyre pressures and it just gave me a bit of confidence to get a few more tenths out of it. So I was pretty happy with the lap. Unfortunately we are not close enough to the front row but I was pretty happy in the end with what I did so I'll just try to look forward to the race now.”
And Ricciardo says the target for Red Bull will be to challenge the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in the race.
“They were really quick today on one lap but fingers crossed their long run pace is less competitive.
“They've consistently showed really good pace now in the last few races. But that's Formula One, it's competitive and they seem to be pushing the rest of us at the moment. Besides Mercedes they're the ones who are showing that they want that next opportunity so we've got to try and stay on top of it and keep doing what we're doing.”
While there was a software update from Renault available to Red Bull this weekend, Ricciardo said any progress made may be disguised by a similar push from Mercedes.
“We're getting a bit out of it. I think our speed trap stuff is not as bad as it has been in previous races. So we're getting a bit more out of it but I think as well Mercedes are still improving. They came out of the box strong but it's not like they're not going to rest there, they're obviously going to keep finding improvements. So we need to double that just to see some results really.”
And Ricciardo doesn't believe the absence of FRIC suspension affected Red Bull but said it could have a bigger impact across a race distance.
“It's really just a bit of ride. You maybe feel a few bumps on the track a little bit more, but other than that it's not really changing too much. You feel a little bit more and we'll see on the long runs; maybe that puts a bit more energy through the tyre and can create more tyre wear, but it's not a massive difference. I think some of us expected a bit more but it's pretty small.”