Daniel Ricciardo’s Friday at Suzuka was spoiled by a heavy crash in FP2, which the Aussie put down to a mistake.
Ricciardo went off as he accelerated out of the chicane, badly damaging the left hand side of the car when he speared into the tyre wall.
“I just made a mistake,” he said. “I did my first quick lap, and then everyone’s cooling after that, so you do fast, slow and then fast again, the slow lap there was a yellow flag so I did extra slow so that when I started my quick lap so the yellow flag would have been clear and I would have been able to push, so I think the tyres probably cooled too much and out of the chicane I got on the power and had a few moments, and just couldn’t catch it. Not an error I want to make at the beginning of the session, but not really any excuse or any turning back much.”
Ricciardo admitted that given that the race is likely to be wet, he hadn’t lost out much: “It looks like it probably won’t hurt me too much, the long run stuff. Obviously I just missed a time there with the option, but it seems pretty straightforward, we know how the tyre responds, we know there’s about a second between the compounds. Even though I did one lap the lap I did I think we made some changes form P1 to P2, and I definitely felt better off.”
He also said that Mercedes is stronger here than expected.
“Definitely coming into it I was expecting something like Singapore, being within a few tenths off the Mercs, and fighting for the podium. They were really quick today. We think we’re there, and then they pull a gap like this. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but looking at today we won’t be able to do anything with that in qualifying. Maybe the race will change. Right now in the dry, all going well, we can still be third on the grid.”