A breach of track limits masked the true pace of Daniel Ricciardo during the opening day of running for this weekend’s Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.
The Australian piloted his Renault to the ninth fastest time in Practice 1 before slipping to 15th on the time sheets for Practice 2.
However, that result failed to paint a representative picture after Ricciardo lost his best time from Practice 2 after exceeding track limits at the Parabolica.
Save for that, he’d have likely have ended the session with the third best time, echoing the pace he showed at Spa-Francorchamps in the build up to the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend.
“It was a good day and I’m very happy with our work,” Ricciardo said.
“I was already feeling comfortable in FP1, finishing ninth, but I knew there was a good bit more in it.
“We showed the pace in FP2, however, our lap time was removed for track limits.
“I’m not concerned about that as it’s a small thing and today is about finding the limits.
“We know if we keep it on track tomorrow, we’re holding onto that lap time, which should put us up the leaderboard.”
Ricciardo’s apparent pace was supported by team-mate Esteban Ocon, who was just 0.2s slower than his team leader in Practice 1.
He improved by just 0.3s in the afternoon session, though conceded the focus was not laptime.
“It’s not the most important day for lap times and I’m pleased with how we’ve gone through our plan today,” Ocon said.
“It was very complicated with traffic and slipstreaming, so we’ve learnt a little bit on that ahead of qualifying.
“We also learnt more on set-up between FP1 and FP2 and I felt we made a good step.”
Final practice follows on Saturday ahead of qualifying at 23:00 AEST.