The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team had a rough day on track at Spa-Francorchamps, with Daniel Ricciardo barely scrapping into the top ten in both sessions, while Sebastian Vettel’s reliability problems struck again; the German sitting out free practice two with an engine problem.
Ricciardo endured a tough day at Spa, finishing ninth in the first free practice session and eighth in the second. The Hungarian Grand Prix race winner knows the team are not competing at the front in Belgium, but hopes to be able to find some more pace so not to be engulfed in the tight midfield battle.
“I think we knew it would be difficult to break away from the midfield here – we see Force India, McLaren and Toro Rosso and a few of the others are strong,” said Ricciardo. “Hopefully tomorrow we can find a bit more speed and get ahead of them. Our long run is better than our short run pace, so that’s not bad, if we have a good race car then Sundays are always more fun.
“If the track keeps rubbering in, and we’ll see what the weather does tomorrow, then it should come a bit more into our hands. Eau rouge is still flat out, but you have to concentrate a bit more, it’s not a Sunday drive through there anymore!”
Team-mate Vettel had yet more reliability issues, with engine issues curtailing his morning session after only eleven laps, but more importantly necessitating the German sitting out the second session completely. He acknowledges that at some point this season he will be forced to race a sixth power unit and therefore incurring a grid drop penalty, but at least it will not be a Spa.
“Hopefully the engine we had a problem with today is not damaged, we have to check it properly,” said Vettel. “If it is then obviously we have to get another one out, not necessarily for this weekend but some weekends in the future so we’ll have to wait and see. Obviously I didn’t drive much except for a few laps this morning.
“There’s a lot of boxes to be ticked in general, and it’s important around here to get your eye in, every year’s different. It’s a long lap, there’s a lot of high speed corners and therefore it’s important to have a rhythm, whereas at a slower track maybe it’s a little bit easier.”