Daniel Ricciardo expects Red Bull to start the season close to Williams on pace but behind Mercedes and Ferrari.
“I would say the two sure things for now is Mercedes and Ferrari, I think they’re the top two,” Ricciardo told NBC. “Behind that it looks close, I would say Williams and we are more or less there, close to them.”
“And then the rest, who knows. Toro Rosso, all these other teams, could be pretty close behind Mercedes and Ferrari.”
Ricciardo said the team “got a little bit more” out of its Renault power unit today and “were able to run a few more settings which will be representative to what we’re going to have in Melbourne”.
“And we know for the first few races not to expect too much but then we should get some steps soon after that,” he added. “I think for now we’re on target.”
Ricciardo enjoyed Red Bull’s most productive day of testing so far as he completed a race simulation in the RB12. He agreed drivers are likely to have to make an extra pit stop with Pirelli’s latest generation of tyres.
“I think it looks like that for now,” he said. “It’s so hard to tell in the winter because the track’s cool. When we come here it’s going to be 20 degrees hotter or whatever. But maybe that means it’ll be even harder on the tyres.”
“So we’ll see. I think we did a three-stop or something, I would guess right now one more stop for the races but we’ll see what happens.”
2016 F1 season
- Which was F1’s best down-to-the-wire title fight?
- Are tickets too dear? Crowds fell at some tracks in 2016
- F1’s TV audience decline stopped in 2016
- Brawn among key F1 hires announced by Liberty
- Has F1 hit ‘peak penalties’? Fewer sanctions in 2016