As an Australian, Daniel Ricciardo should be used to hot sunshine, but he admits that it could cause problems for the entire F1 field over this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix meeting.
The Red Bull driver backed up team-mate Max Verstappen at the head of the FP2 times at Spa-Francorchamps, with the pair comfortably ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, but reckons that the unexpectedly hot temperatures making the Ardennes a pleasant place to be on Friday could be an issue for tyre life in Sunday's race.
“One stop, if it is hot like this, is very unlikely,” he reasoned, “If we get a super hard maybe but, with the compounds we have, it will be at least two stops.”
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All eleven teams got the chance to run the latest Pirelli evaluation rubber across the two Friday sessions, with Ricciardo quickly realising that the softest option on hand would not be a durable race tyre.
“We used the prototypes, a prototype soft,” he said of the vast part of his day, “We definitely will still have a couple for tomorrow, but the super soft today did not really hold up well. We expected that in this heat, and it is such a long lap around here as well, so we don't want to have too many of them for Sunday as we feel that it is going to stay hot like this.”
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Ricciardo also got a chance to try the latest version of the Halo safety device, one of four drivers to run with the cockpit protection at the start of FP1, and was positive about its development, having previously trialled Red Bull's aeroscreen concept.
“It is not too bad, but it is definitely still a work in progress,” he commented, “It's the first time I've run it – I'd only run the aero screen before - so it was definitely different. But it was definitely good to test it, and to test it here. That is what we have to keep doing for now, so more drivers can test it before the end of the season, just getting feedback.
“I will give some feedback tonight - we've been given a sheet, a bit of homework - and first impressions were not too bad. There are still a few things that can be worked on, but it is not unexpected for now. Generally speaking, not too bad.”
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