Daniel Ricciardo feels Red Bull Racing can be satisfied with ending the first day of free practice for the Italian Grand Prix in fifth and sixth position around a circuit it is expecting to trail Ferrari.
Following an impressive run of form that has seen Red Bull surge past Ferrari in the fight for second in the constructors' standings, Ricciardo had declared ahead of Monza that the Renault (TAG Heuer) powerd car may struggle to keep up with its main rivals around the high-speed venue.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - Free practice results (2)
It is a prediction Ricciardo continues to stand by following free practice as he turned in the sixth best time - just behind team-mate Max Verstappen - 1.2secs off Lewis Hamilton's session-topping pace.
Indeed, the Australian was disappointed with the relative lack of gains made on the super-soft, but he feels there is more scope to be closer to Ferrari come qualifying.
“Position wise we are more or less were we expected. At least I expected Ferrari to be behind Mercedes here. But I didn't expect the gap to be as big as it was, so on soft tires we were more competitive.
ITALIAN GP: 6 Things to WATCH out for in Monza
“But on the super softs we didn't really find as much on one lap. If we can use this tire a bit better in qualifying we can get close to Ferrari, but we have a bit of work to do to catch them. Anyway, I think fifth and sixth today is not too bad.
“For qualifying at least for us it is trying to get the most out of the tire on one lap in qualifying. Especially here I think it is going to be really tight between fifth and tenth places – so to make sure that we use the tire well could determine a big grid position change. So that is what we will work on tonight. The long run was pretty good, so work on the qualifying.”
SPEED DEMONS: The fastest F1 circuits on the planet
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst