Daniel Ricciardo ended fifth fastest in Friday afternoon’s Free Practice session at the Circuit of the Americas but revealed that the grip levels were not as everyone was expecting them to be, which reflected in the kind of lap times being set.
The Red Bull Racing driver was amongst those to suffer in the low-grip conditions, finishing 0.795 seconds off the pace of Lewis Hamilton, and 0.398 seconds back on team-mate Max Verstappen, who finished the day second fastest.
Ricciardo says it remains a realistic aim to qualify inside top three during Saturday’s Qualifying session, and he will use the final Free Practice session to try and find some extra pace.
“It was not that easy today actually,” admitted Ricciardo. “The grip on the circuit was really low for what we were expecting with lap times.
“It’s humid so the tyres were getting really hot and then you struggle to generate the desirable grip on the car. We have a few things we can obviously try for tomorrow, now that we understand a bit more from these sessions.
“We didn’t really have the ideal set up but I think with all those things considered we’re not a million miles off the pace and if we can get it right tomorrow we can still be up there.
“That’s our target and that’s realistic so we’ll work on that and hopefully you’ll see us amongst the top three tomorrow.”