Ricciardo: We can go even faster than FP2 hotlap

Daniel Ricciardo believes he can go even faster than his qualifying run in FP2, suggesting there is more pace to come from his Renault.

The Australian finished third in the afternoon session ahead just 0.016s ahead of Max Verstappen as all the teams ran their qualifying sims, with Esteban Ocon in 10th.

Ricciardo’s fourth place last weekend equalled Renault’s best result since taking back over the Enstone operation five seasons ago, and if they can replicate this form in the race they’ll record their first podium since Nick Heidfeld at Malaysia 2011.

Speaking about Friday’s practice sessions, Ricciardo said: “For the afternoon, we had a bit of a warm-up, made a change to the car, which worked, and it felt great.

“We had a good run on the hard and then on the soft as well.

“On that soft run, we still missed out a bit in some areas, so there’s definitely more there.

“Our long runs also looked decent, so that’s a good base for Sunday, overall, it’s been a good day for us.”

Renault didn’t comment on the Racing Point protest, after the FIA upheld the Renault protest that Racing Point’s brake ducts were illegal.

Racing Point has been fined €400,000 and deducted 15 constructors’ championship points but say they could appeal, while it’s also thought Renault could appeal based on the grounds that the punishment isn’t strong enough.

Ocon’s sixth place last weekend equalled his best F1 result since Mexico 2017, which was was welcome good news after a difficult return to racing.

He ran P10 in both practice sessions today but was just over a tenth behind Charles Leclerc in seventh indicating it’ll be another tight midfield battle on this weekend.

He said: “It looks positive and the car was clearly quite quick. Daniel’s run on the Soft was certainly fast, which is good as we both tested different things and it’ll be interesting to see the comparisons.”

Renault Chief Race Engineer Ciaron Pilbeam added: “Everybody ran the same tyres in the morning session, but we have done something different with our tyres compared to most others in the afternoon, and it will be interesting to see how the consequences of that shake out through the rest of the weekend.

“Both drivers are happy with their car and as normal for a Friday, we have some work to do to find a little bit extra for tomorrow. Daniel’s Soft tyre run in the afternoon was quite quick, but it’s only Friday, so we’re not getting too excited!”