Ricciardo expecting to be 'jumped' in qualifying
24 November 2017 – Daniel Ricciardo has played down Red Bull's chances of competing with Mercedes and Ferrari over the course of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, despite classifying third during Friday practice.
Both closely-contested free practice sessions finished with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull represented in the top three positions, with Max Verstappen and Ricciardo taking third place in FP1 and FP2 respectively.
However, despite beating one Ferrari and one Mercedes in FP2, Ricciardo does not believe that the RB13 will have the pace to cope with the typical improvements its opponents make from Friday to Saturday.
"A pretty good Friday," commented Ricciardo.
"This morning we couldn't really look at the lap times as we tried a little bit of testing for next week. However this afternoon we put everything in the car that we needed and it was solid.
"On low fuel we looked quite strong but I thought we would be a bit quicker with high fuel, so we still need to find a bit there.
"I think it's still Friday numbers unfortunately, as we were ahead of one Ferrari and one Mercedes today.
"We expect them to be quick tomorrow, so if we have the same pace tomorrow as we had today I expect them to jump us – we still need to find a bit more speed."
Verstappen, who placed sixth in the second session, over a second adrift of Lewis Hamilton, believes he can make gains when a fresher engine is installed in his car, but remained wary over his prospects.
"I was pretty happy in the first practice but not so much in the second one," said Verstappen.
"We know what was changed which resulted in me not being able to turn as well as I would have liked so we should be able to fix that for tomorrow.
"We need to improve the set-up but we still don't look too far away so this is a positive to take from the day's work.
"The engine we had today was an old one, it is definitely not 100 per cent so we will change that tomorrow to improve the power.
"With a new engine and an improvement in the setup I am confident we will be in a good position.
"Mercedes are still looking like the team to beat, as they have been all year so we will try to get as close as we can."