Daniel Ricciardo finished on top in Friday’s running for the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix but he expects rival teams to “turn it up a bit in Qualifying.”
Ricciardo was shaded by Valtteri Bottas in Friday morning’s first practice session but improved in the afternoon to post a lap time of 1:42.795 to head the field by less than seven-hundredths-of-a-second.
“I was very happy today,” says Ricciardo. “With a street circuit you need confidence in yourself and in the car. The car was well behaved and didn’t take any confidence away from me. There was a good relationship with myself and the car so we will build on that tomorrow.
“I think we can still find a little bit more but generally I was happy and I think it’s going to be quite a close battle tomorrow and Sunday. The car feels really strong through the castle section in the second sector and I felt comfortable and confident there.”
“It’s a very tight part of the circuit but that’s the place that I felt most comfortable and the RB14 felt strong.”
Despite showing excellent one-lap pace, backed up by his team-mate Max Verstappen‘s times, Ricciardo remains doubtful that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing qualifying on the front row for Sunday’s race.
“I’m sure the others will turn it up a bit in Qualifying and gain in sectors one and three but sector two will be the key for us.
“The step in grip between the tyre compounds is pretty consistent and fairly linear so no real surprises there. I do remember last year on the Friday both our cars were very quick and we didn’t quite have the same pace in Qualifying, so I’m not going to play it up or anything, but this was all we could ask for today.
“It is encouraging even if we don’t qualify on the front row tomorrow as I think the race car will be very strong. We are still in the group of favourites.”