Daniel Ricciardo says a sudden gust of tailwind caused him to crash during the opening free practice session in Spain but is confident after recovering strongly during the afternoon for Red Bull.

The Australian driver ended FP2 second quickest with a best lap of 1m 18.392s – just over one-tenth off timesheet-topper Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes – which provided a sharp turnaround after crashing out of the morning session.

Ricciardo blames a strong tailwind for his off at Turn 4, with the high winds appearing to hamper a number of drivers at Circuit de Catalunya, but doesn’t feel it hit his progress too badly ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix with Red Bull running a host of updates to the RB14.

“There were a few of us making a few errors unfortunately mine was costly enough to miss the last hour of that session,” Ricciardo said. “But tailwind is a big one in F1.

“Any corners with a tailwind you lose a lot of rear grip. Into Turn 4 that was a tough one because there was a tailwind and it is a corner where you have to drive into it with the brake, so you load up the front and unload the rear. It is a bad corner to have a tailwind as it makes it tricky. It caught me out this morning.”

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While securing second spot on the times in FP2 Ricciardo feels he struggled to get the Supersoft, theoretically the fastest tyre from the compounds made available by Pirelli for the Spanish Grand Prix, with alterations to the thickness of the tyre made after concerns flagged up during winter testing.

Ricciardo feels the yellow-banded soft tyre, in the middle of Pirelli’s range, could be the quicker compound for the race and is aiming to stick with a one-stop strategy in order to prioritise track position.

“The front tyres don’t really seem like they are working well with these conditions,” Ricciardo said. “A lot of understeer and wasn’t able to come back but on high fuel it was a bit better.

“Then we put the softs on and it was a lot quicker. So the Supersoft, unless something changes, it doesn’t look like a nice tyre this weekend. The front tyres seemed, I don’t know if it is the conditions, but didn’t seem like it was working. The soft was faster today and even the medium was not too slow so it creates some options for the race which is nice.”

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