Red Bull’s Friday pace suggests the team is well-settled to challenge top runners Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend.
Ricciardo’s benchmark time was a 1:18.455, putting him 0.183s clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton all being covered by just 0.141 seconds from second to fifth respectively.
Max Verstappen showed signs of being able to rival Ricciardo’s pace in the second Red Bull with the early part of his qualifying simulation, only to fade towards the end and finish half a second back in sixth place.
Nico Hulkenberg put in an impressive display for Renault to take seventh place ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in eighth. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne wound up 10th.
“They are [working well]. Today was good, it was positive day. To replicate the same pace as this morning in the afternoon is positive. Ricciardo told Sky F1
“It gives everyone a chance to make some changes. You don’t know what Ferrari and Mercedes are going to come up with and it looked like Ferrari found a bit more pace this afternoon but we’re still ahead. We’ll see tomorrow, but definitely a positive day.”
Can Red Bull secure pole tomorrow? Asked by Sky F1
“If we replicate today, then yes.”
“We look good, we look comfortable and strong. I’m sure the others will bring a bit more tomorrow, but we look in a good position. Ricciardo added
“We know Mercedes are very strong in qualifying and have more power to use. Coming into qualifying tomorrow we’ll still need to be a few tenths ahead of them to feel we have a chance of pole, but today was good. Long runs as well don’t seem too bad. “It’s definitely looking positive.”
But what about Max Verstappen, who was half a second off down in sixth place?
“We worked quite a lot on the car, changed a lot of parts, and in the end of the second practice I was feeling quite okay with the car.
“Maybe in terms of lap time, not yet, but I could never really finish my lap time on the supersoft. It was good.”