Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull has the top speed to challenge Williams and Ferrari in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel starts from third and Daniel Ricciardo fifth, the pair separated by Fernando Alonso and ahead of both Williams cars. While Spa-Francorchamps was expected to favour Mercedes-powered teams, Ricciardo believes Red Bull has got its set-up right and will be quick enough to battle with the cars around it.
“Through the speed trap we actually look pretty competitive,” Ricciardo said. “[Williams] have probably gone for a bit more higher downforce so obviously that evens us out a little bit in a straight line. So I think we can definitely fight – in terms of racing – with everyone tomorrow. Our straight line speed is in that top part now, so whether it's defending or attacking I think we've got a good chance to do either/or.”
And Ricciardo said the set-up explained part of the large deficit to Mercedes in wet conditions and that it was a hit he was prepared to take in order to be more competitive in race trim.
“An explanation is that we've banked a little bit on a dry race so we've set the car up a little bit more for that. In a nutshell we've taken downforce off it, so that hurt us [in qualifying] but in race conditions I think that should be the right call and that's why we've done it.
“Across both cars we did a bit of experimenting but then Seb was a bit limited [on Friday] – well very limited in the end with his track time – so we got enough data to try and understand what we wanted.
“I think with the way our straight line speed is, especially with the long straights here, we need to have a chance of fighting, whether it's moving forward or defending. That's why we've gone the way we have and I was definitely happy to do that. I think it's important to look towards the race rather than qualifying, so let's see if it works.”