Daniel Ricciardo will start the French Grand Prix from fifth on the grid on Sunday after qualifying just under two-tenths of a second behind team-mate Max Verstappen, with the Australian admitting the duo had gone different ways with their downforce levels.
Ricciardo had a higher downforce level than his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team-mate during Friday practice at the Circuit Paul Ricard, and it was planned for him to switch to the same levels as his team-mate on Saturday, only for the weather to ruin the plans, with the Australian deciding against trying an untested set-up in Qualifying.
“We split the cars yesterday, on the downforce levels, with Max lower than me,” said Ricciardo. “It was pretty evenly matched yesterday but it looked like the low was worth trying.
“We put that on for this morning but with the weather we didn’t get to try it. We decided not to run in Qualifying with something we hadn’t tried yet, but we still had a lot of front wing in hand but I think by the end of Q1 we had already used every bit of it and we still had understeer.
“In other sessions you can do other things on the car but in quali your hands are tied so it was a frustrating day.”
Ricciardo hopes for some assistance from the weather on Sunday if Red Bull are going to challenge Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport for the victory, and he also feels some rain would also benefit the fans looking for an exciting race.
“For tomorrow come race time I’ll be confident but I think we’re going to be a little slow on the straights compared to the guys in front but if it rains then we might be the lucky dogs,” said the Australian.
“I think the wet will make it interesting. In the dry on raw pace we are not quick enough to challenge Mercedes, but in the wet I think it will be exciting for the fans.”