• Chinese Grand Prix - FP2

Long-run pace could be key - Ricciardo

ESPN Staff
April 18, 2014 « Hamilton bracing himself for tough weekend | Rosberg still expecting straight Mercedes duel »
Daniel Ricciardo thinks a podium is up for grabs in China © Sutton Images

Daniel Ricciardo admits his impressive long-run performance in FP2 will count for nothing if Red Bull is unable to use it to his advantage during Sunday's race.

Ricciardo finished fourth but most encouragingly for him was his stint at the end of the session, where he recorded 22 laps on the soft option tyre, more than any other driver. Ricciardo was told over the radio during the session that other teams were struggling much more with degradation but he is well aware Red Bull needs to make it work in the race.

"The team said we did alright on our long run, and I think we got the most laps out of the option compared to the others from what I understand, so that's positive," Ricciardo said. "It's positive but we'll see, it's only positive if you can do one less stop in the race."

The gap to Mercedes appeared to have come down in both Friday sessions, though the team has held something back for the rest of the weekend at all three races this season. With that in mind Ricciardo is not getting carried away with what looked like a step closer to the Mercedes.

"The gap seems a bit to close for now. I'd like to say we've caught up but I think they have a little bit more in there, so we'll see what they bring out tomorrow - but today looked OK. We're making small improvements.

"The gap is a big one so it's not going to come in one race but I feel we have crept up a little bit more. As I say it's a big gap but we're coming, and I think bit by bit we'll get there and hopefully we'll at least get close."

Ricciardo feels a podium is obtainable but also believes a new team could be in the mix.

"It's probably still early to say, I think Mercedes will still be fast and Ferrari looked really quick today," Ricciardo said when asked about a top three finish. "It's a challenge to get both cars there but if we can at least get one on there, and if that one can be me then I'll be happy for now and that's the target for this weekend.

"It looks closer but I think Mercedes has a lot more pace, I don't think they used everything today and I expect them to be a lot quicker tomorrow."

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