Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull were “not as competitive” as expected in Friday’s free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, despite "trying a few new things" on the Renault-powered RB11.
The Australian finished a lowly 14th in the morning session, some 2.5s off pacesetter Lewis Hamilton. Last year’s Montreal winner then managed to move up to the top 10 in the afternoon before heavy rain swept across Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and prevented any further improvement.
“We tried a few new things with the car and it didn’t get up to speed,” said Ricciardo. “It didn’t really feel like it was beneficial with the running we did, so we were a bit behind in first free practice,” but we came to a more conventional set-up this afternoon.
“It was working better but we didn’t get enough laps really. We will move forward tomorrow but we are not as competitive as we would like to be today.”
While championship leaders Mercedes still enjoy a healthy gap at the front, cars are then tightly bunched behind the two W06 Hybrids. What’s more, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg sprung a surprise in FP1 as they set the third and fourth fastest times respectively.
Although Ricciardo did not expect the Mercedes-powered E23 and VJM08 to fare so well, the Australian welcomes the extra competition and believes it makes for a nice incentive to emerge as best of the rest.
“It is tight today and we have Lotus and Force India showing their nose, which was a bit of a surprise. I think when we get it right, we should be in front of that but it is going to be closer than expected this weekend.
“It is cool, it is fun to have a battle and it is nice to know if you do get the qualifying lap right it can propel you a fair few places, so it will be on tomorrow.”
Click here for technical analysis of the braking challenge at the Canadian Grand Prix