Ricciardo expects to stay at 'pointy end'
16 February 2017 – Daniel Ricciardo says that he expects Red Bull and Mercedes to stay at the "pointy end" of the Formula 1 grid in 2017, amid an overhaul of the sport's technical regulations.
It is estimated that Formula 1 cars will be three to five seconds per lap faster this year, depending on the circuit layout, as a result of revised aerodynamics and much wider Pirelli tyres.
And although Ricciardo admits plenty is likely to change from a driver's perspective, he reckons his Red Bull outfit, and recent pace-setter Mercedes, will remain the teams to beat.
"I think there will be changes, but how it alters the pecking order we'll have to wait and see," said Ricciardo, as he previewed the new season in an interview with the official Red Bull website.
"I still believe Mercedes and Red Bull will be at the pointy end – hopefully in reverse order to last year!"
Ricciardo described his pre-season as "the best I've had in terms of physical preparation", and he is eager to get back on track in testing to find out if his hopes for the RB13 will be realised.
Barcelona will host two tests, from February 27 to March 2 and March 7 to 10.
"The first thing you're looking for is reliability," he said of the pre-season.
"You know track time is important for the car, for development, but it's also important for us physically.
"I'll arrive [at testing] fit and conditioned, but the first day in the car is still going to hurt because your body is going through different things, things it hasn't been through in a long time.
"You want to do the laps for yourself, so that you get that race fitness.
"After the reliability is settled you want to go through a corner and feel it in your bottom that it's a fast car. Once you do one flying lap, you get an idea. It's just the way it brakes and turns.
"Hopefully it's a good feeling [throughout] that first timed lap."
Mark Webber has tipped Ricciardo to fight for the title in 2017.