Daniel Ricciardo fears that he and Sebastian Vettel could qualify down the grid if they fail to ‘nail’ a perfect performance in Saturday’s Qualifying for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Australian said that anything less than a completely maximum effort could be costly for the two Red Bull drivers – despite defending champion Sebastian Vettel having clocked third fastest time in Friday’s Second Free Practice.
“I think, if we can get it right, we can definitely challenge them, but it is really close and if we don’t get it right we can be a long way back as we have seen. We have to make sure we nail it.
“It seems pretty close to be honest. There are a few teams who can challenge – if not for the front row then for the second row. It seems to be a bit more even this week.
“We have to try to make sure that we are extracting everything out of it to get in front. Today we didn’t, but we are working on that.”
Ricciardo was 12th on an opening day dominated by the pace-setting Mercedes team with Briton Lewis Hamilton topping the times ahead of his team-mate, championship leader Nico Rosberg.
He said he was disappointed, “I guess it was a bit of a surprise…we obviously hoped to be a bit further up there. I don’t feel at home with the car, but at the same time we don’t feel 1.5 seconds off [the pace].
“We have a bit to understand. What is positive is that Seb put in a quick one, so we can see what he did there and try to see where we are in comparison, see where I need to work – and see if we can get further up.”
Vettel said: “There is still a lot of improvement we can do. Obviously Mercedes are very, very quick around here…it is hard, there [are] a lot of straight lines and we know we are not especially quick down the straights.
“But there is no point repeating that all the time. It is what it is. We have to make sure that we set up the car properly for the corners so we catch up as much time as possible.” (Reuters)