Daniel Ricciardo admitted it was a ‘strange’ day at the Red Bull Ring on Friday as the expected rain did not arrive in either practice session.
Despite this, the McLaren F1 Team driver had a superb afternoon to finish an encouraging second fastest behind only Max Verstappen, with Ricciardo pleased with the changes the team made in between sessions after ending only twelfth in the morning.
Ricciardo still feels there is time to find overnight, but the Australian was happy with his day as he looks to kickstart his season.
“So, a good day. I’d say strange,” said Ricciardo. “Strange because we were expecting a lot of rain, especially this afternoon and it didn’t quite arrive. We weren’t expecting two dry sessions. Whether that’s going to stay for the weekend, we’ll see.
“I think it was a productive Friday for sure. In the morning we were a little off the pace. We made a few adjustments for the afternoon and I think that was better. Obviously, the time sheets certainly show it was better.
“We made a step in feeling and confidence in the car, but I do feel there’s another step we need to make to stay in a strong position for tomorrow. A bit of fine-tuning tonight but otherwise we should be pretty good. I’m happy with the day and we’ll go from there.”
“Hopefully we can make another step into FP3” – Lando Norris
Team-mate Lando Norris also felt positive about his day, although he was unable to match the same kind of pace Ricciardo did.
Norris was sixteenth in the morning session but improved significantly in the afternoon to place seventh, but he was over two-tenths of a second behind Ricciardo in the final times.
The Briton, who took his maiden podium finish of his Formula 1 career in Austria last year, hopes to make more progress with his car overnight as he bids to continue his unbroken run of points scores in 2021 this Sunday.
“A positive day,” said Norris. “We started FP1 not looking too good, but we made some changes and definitely made the car better going into FP2.
“Hopefully we can make another step into FP3 and gain even more lap-time, but it’s going to be extremely close. It’s all about putting the lap together and doing that consistently. I think we can be confident we have a decent car, but it’s going to be tight no matter what.”