Daniel Ricciardo says he expects Ferrari to be more of a threat to Red Bull Racing over the British Grand Prix weekend, despite a half-second advantage over Sebastian Vettel in Friday practice.
While Lewis Hamilton dominated both practice sessions at Silverstone, Red Bull made the most of Nico Rosberg's afternoon misfortune to fill second and third positions, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen completing the top five. Ricciardo posted a best lap of 1m 32.051s compared to Vettel's 1m 32.570s, but the Australian remains to be convinced that the gap is a legitimate representation of the teams' relative pace.
“I knew we would have a good fight with Ferrari this weekend, and I expected it to be close, so let's see if it's representative,” he noted, “It looks good on paper and, if it stays like that tomorrow, it will be interesting, so let's see what Ferrari can do. I think it's going to be a good fight. I think if we all put in our perfect laps, then I don't think you'll see half-a-second. I think it will be nearer to one- or two-tenths, so it should be a good fight for the third spot.”
While Hamilton lapped four-tenths faster than anyone in FP2, Ricciardo continues to hold out hope that Red Bull might be able to run with the world champions during the weekend.
“We'll see what happens with Mercedes,” he smiled, “If it's wet on Sunday, we have a chance maybe to fight with them but, if it's dry, I think our fight will be with Ferrari. Today looked good on the soft [compound Pirelli], so I was happy on that. We put the medium on at the end and I was probably happier with the soft tyre. There's still a few things to understand but, so far, we're looking okay.
“Compared to Lewis, [the long run] looked pretty good. I'm not convinced they probably got everything out of that today, but I'm happy with where we are today. The long runs seemed a bit more competitive than last week as well, so so far so good for a Friday. There's still a bit more to get out of the car - even though I think the softs on high fuel looked quite good for me, I think there's still a bit that I wanted from it. We'll definitely find a few things tonight and try to get closer.”
Even the one 'issue' that appeared to blight Ricciardo's day was a false alarm, with the Australian clearing up what seemed to be a warning message from the team right at the end of FP2.
“I was just going too fast, and the team just said slow down,” he laughed, “They had some warnings coming up and they said not to change gear, I had something with the gearbox, I think, with just one or two laps left, so it was better to pull it apart tonight. They've got time now and just make sure it's nothing too critical.”