Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull is closer to Formula 1 pacesetter Mercedes than it appeared in Canadian Grand Prix practice on Friday.
Max Verstappen and Ricciardo were nine tenths of a second adrift of Lewis Hamilton’s benchmark time on Friday afternoon in Montreal as they took fourth and fifth places.
Although Red Bull appeared a match for Mercedes two weeks ago in Monaco, Ricciardo felt the situation in Canada was better than the times suggested.
“They had a good buffer on us today but we’ve got a bit more to come from all areas tomorrow,” he said. “So if we’re within half a second tomorrow that would be decent and then you never know what happens in the race.
“From my happiness with the car today, we’re looking OK. We can improve from where we are, so hopefully we’ll find some good solutions tonight and that should put us close to the top four tomorrow.
“There’s a bit in everything for now. I don’t think I put the perfect lap together today, and we can still find some more with the setup.
“I expect it to be less than a second tomorrow, how much less I’m not sure, but we can close the gap quite a lot from what it was today. I expect a bit more from me, a bit more from the set-up and that should put us a lot closer to Mercedes, and also Ferrari.
“If we put in the right work tonight we’ll be pretty close to Ferrari, and with the right lap we can be ahead of them.”
Both Red Bulls now have the upgraded Renault engine that Ricciardo used to take pole and fight for victory with in Monaco. He said the power unit had not been used in qualification mode at all on Friday.
“Tomorrow, we’ll see a bit more of a step from it, and from that we should be closer than a second behind the Mercedes,” Ricciardo said. “Hopefully we can gain a big chunk, and it will put us closer to Ferrari.”
“[Mercedes’] long-run pace was probably more impressive than their short-run pace. That’s where we need to improve. Our long runs can be better from both Max and I, and that’s what we’ll look at tonight.”