Daniel Ricciardo expects Scuderia Ferrari to be a stronger rival this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, with their pace quicker than expected at the Japanese Grand Prix.
During the Grand Prix at the Suzuka International Racing Course, both Ferraris qualified together on the second row. With Sebastian Vettel receiving a three place grid penalty for causing a collision at the Malaysian Grand Prix and Kimi Raikkonen receiving a five place grid penalty due to a unscheduled gearbox change, the Red Bull Racing duo were promoted to the second row.
The circuits where the Milton Keynes based outfit have expected to be quicker they haven’t been, and with the circuits where they didn’t expect to be quicker it turns out they have, but Ricciardo believes from Ferrari’s performance they have underachieved to what the car has been capable of.
“I think that Ferrari have been extremely fast lately,” said Ricciardo on Autosport. “In Japan they did a very good job. Probably quicker than we expected.
“But it’s been a bit like that, some places we’ve been quicker where we didn’t expect, but then we’ve gone to places like Japan where we thought we would be quicker than them, and we weren’t necessarily. It’s still a bit confusing for everyone to know who’s got the better package and what tracks suit who.
“Maybe they just got it right that weekend, and put it all together. Obviously Seb still didn’t end up with a podium. I haven’t watched the complete race back, but it looked like he had a car for the podium. I think they probably underachieved what the car was capable of. But nonetheless I expect them to be I guess pretty quick here.”
The Australian believes Red Bull will have their work cute out to finish ahead of Ferrari. To achieve this he believes the team will have to execute everything pretty well.
“I think it’s going to be close. It’s sort of guesswork now,” added Ricciardo.
“The high-speed stuff in Sector 1 is in a way similar to maybe what we have in Suzuka in Suzuka Sector 1, and they were pretty strong there. I think we will have our work cut out, if both our cars want to finish in front of them, we’ll have to execute everything pretty well.”