Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull Racing are where they expected to be at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Friday after he finished sixth in second practice, just behind team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Australian expects the team to be fighting for the lower reaches of the top six rather than the front two rows, but Ricciardo believes there is still plenty of scope to improve ahead of Saturday’s running.
“After today’s action I think we are more or less where we expected to be,” revealed Ricciardo. “I would like to be closer to Ferrari but we didn’t really find the times on the supersofts, though the softs felt competitive.
“I think tomorrow it will tighten up at the top even more. I expect Mercedes to lock out the front row and Ferrari look like the next best. Fifth and sixth for now is not too bad and gives us plenty to work on for tomorrow.”
Ricciardo understands the importance of having a good set-up for race day, and used some of the day’s running to try and get a good base for Sunday, and admits that looking at team-mate Verstappen’s run on the Supersoft tyre, a one-stop strategy could be possible for the team.
“Monza is a very high speed circuit so if you have the right race car you have the opportunity to overtake,” said Ricciardo. “Even if you’re a little bit down on top speed you can get a good slipstream and use DRS to make a pass.
“Looking at strategy here in the past it has typically been a one stop race so that limits the options and even in today’s heat the tyres lasted well so I can’t see that changing for now. Max did a fairly long stint on the supersofts and the result looked good.”