Following the first two practice session of the season, Red Bull Racing claims they find themselves where they expected to be. The team believes they are lagging behind both Mercedes and Ferrari currently, but hope this deficit gets resolved by analysing today's data.
“We looked pretty strong this morning and then we tried a few things this afternoon but I don’t think they worked in our favour", said Daniel Ricciardo.
"I’d like to learn a bit more from this afternoon’s session and then if we could pull all of that together with the strength of this morning I’ll be happy.
"Mercedes sure is quick but it’s more Lewis at the moment than Valtteri, who looks like he’s more in the group of Ferrari. I think we can be there as well. Pole might be a stretch but I think we can be in that next little group with the right set-up and the right lap in quali. If Lewis does the perfect lap then that’ll be a challenge to take the pole away from him but we’re not too far off.
Judging the completely different RB13 as a result of the regulation changes, the Australian said it felt 'awesome' to be out on track at his home country, in a car that is faster than anything he previously drove.
"You certainly feel more traction with the new tyres. I thought the times would have been quicker though; this morning I felt a big chunk of grip but I was expecting low twenties. There is still time to improve tomorrow. I think the wind changes so that’ll make a quicker lap time but the traction is nice.
"It felt awesome to be out on the track this morning, I just felt I was back in my happy place and it was cool to already see so many fans on a Friday. It’s also a circuit I enjoy because it’s a fun layout. I think we can have a very good weekend from here.”
Team mate Max Verstappen felt similar about the car, even though his running was cut short due to floor damage.
"We are about where I expected us to be", Verstappen said.
"We have some work to do overnight to make sure we are in a good position for tomorrow and can get the best out of the car.
"I ran wide and ended up on the grass which unfortunately damaged the floor and cut short the second session for me. Mercedes seem quick once again so they are the target to beat but we must also do some work overnight to be ahead of Ferrari who also look strong. Hopefully we will have a good start on Sunday, then we are at the front and can make it hard to overtake.”