Daniel Ricciardo: “I hope we can stay in that fight”

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in both Friday practice sessions - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Daniel Ricciardo concluded the opening day of the Red Bull Ring weekend by setting the fifth fastest time in Free Practice 2, the same position he occupied earlier in the day in the first session.

The Red Bull Racing driver, coming to Austria on the back of his first win of the season in Azerbaijan two weeks ago, felt that on fresh rubber the grip levels around the Red Bull Ring is high, but when the tyres go off it becomes much more of a challenge, as was seen with a number of drivers spinning or going off track.

Ricciardo revealed that his day was not without problems, with the Australian failing to get a proper long run practice in the afternoon session, but he was happy that Red Bull were showing themselves to be competitive.

“It was another good Friday today and we seemed to be relatively competitive,” said Ricciardo. “I didn’t really get to do a proper long run at the end because we had a couple of issues but otherwise it was a smooth day.

“The surface of the circuit has a lot of grip this year and with the new cars you really feel it. Especially the high speed corners of the second sector are pretty fast and fun.

“As soon as you lose that grip though you lose everything so a lot of guys were going off track. I guess everyone is trying to find their limit and then you feel the grip so you want to push more and more but then sometimes it breaks away from you.”

Ricciardo expects the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to turn up their engine during qualifying, but he hopes Red Bull remain in the hunt for a good result.

“The top five cars were within four-tenths so hopefully that remains for tomorrow and then it’ll be quite an exciting show for the weekend,” said Ricciardo. “I’m sure Mercedes will probably turn it up for qualifying but I hope we can stay in that fight.”