Daniel Ricciardo ended both free practice sessions inside the top ten at the Sepang International Circuit, but the Australian admitted that work needs to be done in order to find time on the softest compound of tyre brought to Malaysia.
The Red Bull Racing driver finished the opening session in sixth before setting the eighth fastest time in the second session around a swelteringly hot Sepang, and Ricciardo feels that the team need to find more pace with the Soft compound Pirelli tyre ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
“The new asphalt is good, it gives a bit more grip which is always fun, though I don’t think I found as much grip as the others,” said Ricciardo. “We still have to find a little bit of time on both low and high fuel.
“We didn’t really find a big gain with the soft tyre on low fuel, so that’s one thing we want to address. We’ll do a bit of work tonight and definitely make some improvements for tomorrow.
“Track temperature was, I think, recorded at 61 degrees, I’ve never heard a number that high before. It was pretty warm and toasty out there. I think Sunday will be good fun, we just have to keep hydrated and it should be a good challenge.”
Ricciardo admitted to not liking the re-profiled final turn at the Sepang circuit, but ad it made it more challenging, he accepted the reasons why it was changed in the first place. The final turn has been modified to be a negative-cambered turn ahead of this years race, and the Australian admits a compromise is needed to get the quickest line around it.
“The last corner is not the most attractive on the calendar but it’s challenging so I guess that’s positive,” said Ricciardo.
“If you take the inside it sort of washes you away with the negative banking, and if you go around the outside you end up doing a lot more distance, so it’s about trying to find a good compromise and making it mistake free.”