Ricciardo: We’re going to be much closer than last year

Wednesday at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a big day for Daniel Ricciardo as he covered more laps than any other driver and set the pace on the sixth day of Formula 1 preseason testing, giving him reason to believe that he may be able to take the fight to Mercedes this season.

Speaking after his 165 laps in the Red Bull RB14, “I still don’t know where Ferrari are, I’m quite confident Mercedes is probably just in front of us but Ferrari I’m not sure. But I think we’re going to be much closer than last year.”

Ricciardo’s lap time was a new unofficial track record, which is sure to tumble at the Spanish Grand Prix at the same venue in May.

He played down the table-topping time, “It’s early days, so I think there’s still more to come, but I think that for where the car is now and how the lap was, it wasn’t too bad. There’s probably a tenth on the last sector, so I could have probably made it into the seventeens – but it was pretty good.”

“We made a good step with the car today; again we made a few changes this morning and each change seemed more or less positive, or more positive than negative. So I think we got the car running better today, got it faster, reliability was good, so it’s getting there.”

“I still think we need to find a bit more to, realistically, match Mercedes, but I don’t think we’re far behind. I think it’s positive,” he added.

Reporters asked Ricciardo to pinpoint where he felt Mercedes had the edge, he replied, “I guess their qualy mode, when they decided to use it, will probably be a bit more than ours as well. I think that they still have a bit more on the rest, but it is not too bad.”

“We are looking pretty good. Not really sure about Ferrari at the moment, but we are in a decent place. We made some good changes to the car today, so I think we are better than we were 12 months ago, let’s say that much,” added the big smiling Aussie.