Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest ever lap of the current layout of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday as he put Red Bull Racing to the top of the time sheets on Friday afternoon.
The Australian had finished fourth fastest in the morning session, but set a best lap of 1:17.801s in the second session to usurp Lewis Hamilton by 0.131 seconds, and he feels the team has started the weekend on the front foot.
“Today was pretty positive and it’s always nice to be on top of the time sheets,” said Ricciardo. “I still feel we can improve a bit and we know Mercedes always find more on a Saturday when it counts.
“I think we still need to find a few tenths to stay in the fight, but we will work on that tonight. It’s nice not having to change much on the car because we don’t seem too far off.”
The low grip levels around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez continues to make it tricky for all drivers, with a number of them, including championship leader Hamilton, spinning, but Ricciardo says that being careful is the way to go.
“It’s always tricky here with the low grip and it’s very easy to make mistakes which you could see today with all the spins,” said Ricciardo. “You have to be careful, be very nice to your car, have a good feeling and that really helps around here.
“I think we managed to find a pretty good set-up today with the car and the tyre temperatures, but it doesn’t mean it will be easy for us all weekend.”
Ricciardo has revealed that it looks unlikely that he will have to take an engine penalty this weekend in Mexico, with the last of his allotted power units working well on Friday, which makes him even more positive heading into the rest of the weekend.
“It doesn’t look like I will have to make an engine change, so unless something unplanned happens then I will race from my Qualifying position on Sunday,” revealed Ricciardo. “If she keeps ticking over then we are keeping her in!
“Sunday will be really close, but today was a good day, so we will try and keep it going for the rest of the weekend.”