Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that the most he and his Red Bull team can hope for this weekend in Spain is to be the best of the rest behind the all-dominant Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Ricciardo was third fastest for Red Bull during both practice sessions on Friday, but on both occasions the Australian found himself nine tenths of a second adrift of Hamilton’s best laps, the 2008 champion topping both sessions on the opening day.
The 24-year-old conceded that to be a distant third in Spain was a disappointment, with Red Bull having been hopeful that they could cut into Mercedes’ lead going into the weekend.
“We are making progress, but unfortunately Mercedes don’t seem to be slowing down either, so they are a little bit far away,” Ricciardo told the media following the afternoon practice.
“I hoped we would probably close the gap a bit more – today was too far.
“We are trying to pull them back, but we seem to be in a solid third place today.
“It would be nice to fight for a win soon, but for now it seems that thirds are – at least today – the best we can do.”
Sebastian Vettel’s weekend got off to a grim start on Friday morning, despite the radiant sunshine beating around the Circuit de Catalunya, after an electrical issue stopped his RB10 out on track just 25 minutes into the opening practice session of the day.
The German missed the remainder of the session and was later forced to sit out FP2, as his mechanics uncovered damage to the wiring loom of the #1 Red Bull – an issue that owing to the new generation of cars would take too long to fix for him to make any appearance in the afternoon.
The four time world champion was keen to play down the problem, which limited him to just four laps completed on the opening day in Barcelona.
“It is a small failure with big consequences,” said Vettel. “We decided to change the whole loom and unfortunately that is a pretty big change.
“It was rubbing a bit which caused damage and caused the short, and made the car stop.
“There are sensors everywhere so it takes a while to strip the car and take everything apart.”
“I hope we can recover, otherwise it would be sad news,” added the 26-year-old. “I’m confident we should be fine.”
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic