Daniel Ricciardo has downplayed the dominance of Mercedes during the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton topped both practice sessions, and held a 0.5s advantage over nearest rival Ferrari, as the Australian remains confident that Red Bull can make inroads into Mercedes’ advantage.
Ricciardo was third and fifth during Practice 1 and Practice 2 at his home Grand Prix, however the Red Bull drivers didn’t seem to have confidence in the car set-up during Practice 2, as Ricciardo ended the day a second adrift of pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.
Whilst Ricciardo sees the potential for massive improvements overnight, he does not expect to be in the fight for pole position with Lewis Hamilton, however believes Red Bull could be in the fight for the front row with the Ferrari’s and Valtteri Bottas.
“Mercedes is obviously quick, but I don’t think they are insanely quick,” Ricciardo said.
“Sure they are quickest at the moment, but I feel that we can reel some of that advantage back that they have got.
“We can still get more out of it. This morning was promising and we tried a few things this afternoon. It is fair to say they didn’t work as much as we would have liked.”
“If Lewis does the perfect lap with his car then it would be a stretch to take a pole off him, but we are not too far off.
“It is more Lewis at the moment than Valtteri, who at the moment looks like he is in our group.”
“Ferrari is still a bit of an unknown, but with the right lap we can be in that battle and mix it with them.
“If I am really honest, it felt awesome to be out there in the morning. It was like my happy place and it was cool to already see so many fans on a Friday. This is a circuit that I enjoy, whether it is in Australia or anywhere else in the world, it is a fun layout, so it felt good.”