Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo is a big fan of the Suzuka International Racing Course and is enjoying being back in Japan, a country he really enjoys visiting.
“It’s good to be back at this circuit, I really like this place.”
Although Ricciardo ended the FP2 session down in twelfth place, that position is not a true representation of his overall performance, as the Australian was unable to complete any qualifying simulation runs due to a poorly timed Virtual Safety Car.
The VSC was deployed to retrieve the broken down Haas F1 of Esteban Gutierrez just as Ricciardo had begun his quick lap which he then had to abort, but despite that the 27-year-old was still pleased with the feedback they gained on Friday.
“We had a pretty good day today and a positive afternoon. We made some improvements from this morning and the lap we had to abort because of the Virtual Safety Car looked to be in the 32s which was close to Kimi’s time.”
Both Red Bull drivers look strong over long run pace and Ricciardo is confident of a strong result in Sunday’s race. The Australian also feels they can push Mercedes AMG PETRONAS whilst keeping ahead of the Scuderia Ferrari team if they can nail the set up in qualifying tomorrow.
“Our long run pace towards the end of FP2 on the hard tyre looked pretty solid as well. If we can hook the car up for quali, we can be close to Mercedes and probably be ahead of the Ferrari’s, we can definitely squeeze a bit more out of the car tomorrow.”
With Ferrari just three tenths off the pace of Mercedes in FP2, it is clear that they as well as Red Bull have made improvements of late, and Ricciardo knows it will be a close run in to the end of the season, a challenge he will no doubt relish considering his love of tight battles out on track.
“There have been improvements from our side and the Ferrari’s so we expect the rest of the season to be tighter.”
The weather forecast has predicted rain for the remainder of the weekend, but Ricciardo believes this will not be a problem for Red Bull, and could even give them a helping hand. Either way the Australian is ready for whatever conditions come his way.
“If it rains for quali, it won’t hurt us and we might even be able to get on the front row. I’m ready either way, this place is fun in both wet and dry conditions.”