Having taken new engine components for the third Formula 1 Grand Prix in a row, Daniel Ricciardo will be facing a minimum 10-place grid drop for the Brazilian race but is fully focused on minmisign the damage by aiming for a pole to then hunt down Ferrari.

Ricciardo's new MGU-H (the engine element which recovers electrical energy from exhaust heat) is his seventh of the 2017 season, three over the limit allowed by current regulations and four more than will be allowed in 2018.

With fellow Renault-supplied drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly also taking two new versions of the unit this weekend already, treating it gently has become a priority to avoid a further drop.

Ricciardo's approach was as idiosyncratic as ever, 'bedding in' the element during FP1 before pushing on in the afternoon session.

“Yes, we just bedded it in. We bought some new mattresses and the first night of sleep you need to get a few people on the bed to figure it out, so pillow fights and all. We had a slumber party and it was pretty good, it got wild.”

Ricciardo finished P5 in FP1 and P3 in FP2, in both cases ahead of Sebastian Vettel and behind only the Mercedes in FP2. At only just over two tenths behind leader Hamilton, he described the pace as encouraging, despite trying to nurse the engine to the end.

“It was a pretty good day, we did alright. This morning we did not run full beans the whole way. We have to get this engine through to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.

“So we tried to be smart with our usage but this afternoon on the super softs and we were able to run at a normal setting. It looked pretty good. Merc are really quick on high fuel.

“We seem pretty close on low fuel but they are quick on high fuel. So I think they will have a bit more on low fuel for tomorrow, but relative to Ferrari we had a pretty good day."

Ricciardo is hoping for an 11th place start including grid penalties, meaning he would have to score pole tomorrow, but has faith in his race pace against Ferrari.

“Maybe I will put it on pole tomorrow and then wake up Sunday in 11th. It is what it is,” he said. “Today was a pretty good day, a good Friday for us. Long runs were okay but Mercedes seemed really quick on the long runs. We need to find a bit more, but comparing ourselves to Ferrari we don’t seem too bad.”


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