Daniel Ricciardo came up short of predicting a Red Bull threat to Mercedes at the German Grand Prix, but admitted that was optimistic of being a contender for the podium at Hockenheim
The Australian had to give best to both Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on Friday afternoon's timesheets, but insisted that the battle with the Scuderia looked set to be as closely fought as ever, with Mercedes still a potential target on race day despite Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominating both Friday sessions.
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“On one lap, it is close [with Ferrari],” Ricciardo reflected, “I think we could have got a bit more out of our low fuel run, so it will be close tomorrow on one lap. But the high fuel stuff seemed really positive and, if we can carry that across into Sunday, then we can be looking quite nice. Today looked closer to the Mercs on high fuel, so that was good, but let's see what happens on Sunday. Definitely, the high fuel [performance] was more competitive.”
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The weather could yet throw a spanner in the works of several teams this weekend, adding another layer of complexity to a weekend that already has them reaching for fresh notepads as the last visit to Hockenheim has been out-stripped by advances in F1 technology. Ricciardo, however, did not have much to relearn and was straight back into the flow, sharing fastest times with his rivals before Mercedes got into its stride.
“It's good fun,” he grinned, “I enjoy the track around here, it is cool. It has pretty good flow and the last sector is always good fun. It is tricky with the tyres, as you have some tight corners which seem to be harder on the rear tyres, but then the last sector has a lot longer corners where you can hurt the fronts, so just trying to balance the car is not always easy. I felt that we got on top of it more in FP2, so I'm pretty happy where we are now.”
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