Struggling Red Bull had cause for optimism following day two of Formula 1’s final pre-season test in Bahrain on Friday, with Daniel Ricciardo recording the team’s fastest lap in six days of testing in the Middle East.
The timing of the improvement could not be better as, amid reports of “hissy fits”, huge horsepower deficits and general negativity, F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel returns to the cockpit of the RB10 for his share of testing duty.
On day two at Sakhir, using modified ’emergency’ vents on either side of the troublesome RB10 to avoid overheating, the car managed its longest stint on the track so far this pre-season following multiple problems with its Renault-powered engine in the previous tests in Jerez and Bahrain.
Australian Ricciardo managed 66 laps in total, including a 20-lap burst late on, and turned in the third fastest time of the day with one minute 35.743 seconds.
“This morning it was important to have the race crew here to do the pit stops, as they haven’t had the chance to get to grips with the car yet, so we didn’t do that many laps in the morning,” Ricciardo said afterwards.
“However, in the afternoon we did some good stuff. We had a go on the Soft tyre, which was nice, to see how the car responds with a bit more grip. We also did one long run at the end, which was very important, just to see how the car is behaving with the tyres,” he added.
“A big improvement everywhere over yesterday and a much more optimistic outlook now I think. We still have a lot to learn and understand, but we’re making progress and the past two days have been a big step in the right direction.”
Perhaps another glimmer of hope for the world champions is the fact that, the hitherto bullet-proof, Mercedes and McLaren teams endured power unit related problems during the course of the day. (Reuters-GP247)
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