Daniel Ricciardo was positive after Friday’s running at the Suzuka International Racing Course, although the Australian feels there is some work to do when it comes to short runs on low fuel, which he feels is his shortfall at present.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver ended the morning session third in Japan but dropped to sixth in the afternoon, but he feels there were some promising signs to take away from the days running.
Ricciardo says Red Bull are losing time on the straights in Suzuka but are gaining some of the time back in the corners, however he expects to be more competitive on Saturday, particularly in the first sector, if it stays dry.
“It was a pretty solid day and there are some promising signs,” said Ricciardo. “On the low fuel runs we can be better but I don’t think we’re looking too bad.
“My sector one was slow as I had traffic on my fast lap and we can be better there for sure. On the straight we still lose a bit to the front runners, even if we ran the same downforce, they have a bit more power so coming up to Turn 1 we already lose a bit. We gain a little bit back in the corners but I think tomorrow if it’s dry you will see a better sector one from us.
“The long runs seemed more consistent and I was happier with that. Qualifying here is important as it’s not easy to overtake and there could be rain tomorrow, although they said it would rain today and it didn’t, so I don’t really know what to expect.”
Ricciardo ran a different downforce level to his team-mate Max Verstappen throughout the day, and although there was little difference in performance over one lap, it is the higher level that he ran that seemed to be preferred at the end of the day.
“Max ran a smaller rear wing to me today and we had different downforce levels, on one lap there may not be that much difference, but I seemed happier with the car on the long runs,” said the Australian.
“Everything ran well and it’s been fun. It’s a really good circuit and with these fast cars, as you can see from my smile, it’s very enjoyable.”