Daniel Ricciardo ended pre-season testing by completing 72 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, with the Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver predicting a tight battle on track behind Mercedes when the season gets underway in Australia in less than two weeks time.
An early stoppage on track for Ricciardo after an ERS failure hampered his day, but the Australian was able to return to the track in the afternoon and set the fifth fastest time.
“We had an ERS problem in the morning but in the end we more or less did what we needed to do today,” revealed Ricciardo. “We did a bit on lower fuel and soft tyres plus some longer runs.
“In terms of the pecking order, which is obviously what everyone wants to talk about, it’s hard to say where anyone is at. Aside from one team, I’d say it’s pretty close after that, but we’ll see in Melbourne.
“I think there’s more to come from us. Personally, I feel really ready to race now and I think we’ll be good come Melbourne.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin believes the team are in good shape heading into the new season despite the compromised running on the final day. He feels the team have achieved a good amount of running, and believes there is more to come from the car.
“It was a bit of compressed programme today because of the electrical problem we had this morning,” said Rocquelin. “It’s a problem we’ve had before and one we are on top of, but it just takes time to fix, so that ruled us out for the rest of the morning.
“We crunched things down a bit in the afternoon and got in some short runs and long runs, so it was a useful day. In terms of the winter programme overall, I’d have to mark it down as a success, if only for the reason that we did about three times the mileage as this time last year!
“Overall, it’s been very good. We spent the time focusing on what we need to do and not chasing lap time, because at the end of the day what you want to achieve is the development of a set of tools you can use through the season and that will help take you forward. We’ve done that.
“The balance of the car is good, the consistency is there, we’ve built in good reliability and the drivers are happy and I’m pleased with how things have gone. There’s more to come in the next while but I think we’re in decent shape for the first race.”