Daniel Ricciardo continues to impress the F1 paddock with his strong form, and on a weekend when team mate Sebastian Vettel has been hampered by technical gremlins the Aussie has showcased his talent by securing third on the Barcelona grid.
The downside is that he was over a second slower than pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.
“I think we’re again sort of best of the rest but that’s not quite good enough,” he said. “We’re still a second off and the lap, I thought my lap was not too bad, so I was expecting a smaller gap than that. I think we’ve made some improvement but they – they being Mercedes – have as well. So we would have liked to have closed that but we have some work ahead of us. On a positive note we’re a clear third today.”
Ricciardo hopes that he might benefit from better tyre degradation than rivals.
“If we can do something about Lewis and Nico we will try our best and then yes, the pace yesterday was good, still not as good as a Mercedes but I think in relative terms we made the tyres last a long way. I think if there’s any issues with making a two stop possible, if the race ends up being more of a three stop, then we might be in that window to do a two but we will see how we go. We have to assess everything after lap one and then push from there, but it’s a tricky one here. You push but you’re in conservative mode for the tyres as well. It’s one of those tracks where tyre wear is a big one.”
Regarding the gap to Mercedes he said: “For us it’s just to keep closing that gap to them. On a positive, we’re the best of the rest but we’ve still got to keep the others, keep the guys we have behind us behind us, but to close to them. A second is too much. Even with a different strategy in the race it’s going to be very hard to make up a second per lap. We’ve got to just keep chipping away. Obviously they’re doing a great job and, yeah, I’m sure I can still learn a bit. As I am, I think, each race. We’ll put up a fight tomorrow and at least try to get on the podium. And if we can’t do anything about them, then keep the rest behind us.”