Difficult Friday leaves Ricciardo expecting better
By Mat Coch
Saturday 8th May, 2021 - 6:33am
A difficult Friday for McLaren at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix has left Daniel Ricciardo expecting more come Saturday.
The Australian ended the opening day’s running just 15th, more than a second off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton in Free Practice 2.
That followed on from the 14th fastest time in the opening session, which saw Lando Norris fourth in the other McLaren.
While repeating that performance is perhaps optimistic, Ricciardo suggested the McLaren MCL35M is a top 10 contender.
“I definitely feel that the car is capable of top five finishes,” he told selected media, including Speedcafe.com.
“Neither me nor Lando were in the top 10 this afternoon, so we certainly have to still improve a few things on the car.
“It was a bit of a difficult day for us, but I think tomorrow… I expect better than today.
“We need to make a pretty good job to get top five at the moment, everyone’s very competitive here.”
Though he languished in 15th in the afternoon session, Ricciardo pace was only a tenth shy of Norris who ended the day 12th in a hotly contested midfield.
Small gains therefore could make for large improvements when it comes to grid position in qualifying.
“Every tenth counts at this point so we certainly have to find a few for tomorrow and put ourselves in a fighting position,” he added.
“We’ve changed a few things on the car and it’s still too early to know what’s good and what needs work, but we’ll spend some time tonight looking at it.
“The important thing was that we got the laps in.
“I think FP2 was definitely better than FP1, even if the position doesn’t reflect that, so we’ll hopefully make another step in the morning.”
McLaren headed into the weekend with a number of developments, including a new front wing and floor for Ricciardo and Norris to evaluate.
“We continue to try to bring continuously upgrades to the car in order to get even more performance,” said Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s team principal.
“It’s great to see this momentum we have there, back home, with the development side into production.
“Barcelona obviously will give us a very good indication I would say also regarding the pecking order of we all are,” he added.
“For sure everyone is still bringing upgrades but, as you know, the characteristics here is more I would say an average circuit.”
A further hour of practice remains this evening before qualifying at 23:00 AEST.