Coming off the highs of his record-breaking success at Spain two weeks ago, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen was happy to settle for a calm and orderly day back on track on Thursday in free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.
On a day when many other drivers were having run-offs and contact with the barriers, Verstappen seemed content to have a relatively incident-free day on the iconic street circuit.
"Not too bad," Verstappen told reports when asked how he felt his day had gone. "I think the feeling was there, just building it up lap by lap and we didn’t have a crash. That’s the most important thing.
"We just need to work on the car balance and just getting a bit more confidence in the car and from there on we will see what happens."
The difference in pace between himself and Ricciardo might be due to the new power unit that the Australian is running today. It's thought to be worth at least seven tenths over the old design still being used by Verstappen this week, who will get his new unit for the next race in Canada.
"It will make a bigger difference [in Canada] even though there is a bit of a difference here. I have to do the best possible job I can," said Verstappen, disinclined to excuse the gap in today's pace with his team mate on the engine alone.
Still, the fact that Ricciardo was able to outpace both Mercedes cars certainly gave Verstappen a boost in optimism over the possibility that Red Bull might be able to overhaul their rivals and take a second consecutive team victory this weekend.
“I think we are not too far off [Mercedes]," said Verstappen. "We will try to improve our car because for sure they will do that as well, so we’ll see. I think for us the most important thing is to work on our car."