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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo thinks Red Bull and Mercedes are keeping their pace secret

McLaren and Ferrari are hogging the headlines thanks to their impressive pace and reliability in Barcelona, but Daniel Ricciardo has warned that Red Bull and Mercedes are not showing their cards just yet.

Ricciardo Barcelona
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Daniel Ricciardo believes that Red Bull and Mercedes are yet to show their true performance during F1 testing in Barcelona, leaving Ferrari and McLaren to appear ahead in the race to tackle the sport's new regulations.

Lando Norris topped the timesheets on day one of 2022 testing before Ricciardo came close to repeating the trick on day two, with the new MCL36 looking both reliable and fast at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Ferrari's F1-75 has looked equally impressive, going fastest on day two as Charles Leclerc pushed his new machine to a sub-1m20s effort, becoming the first car to pass the 300-lap milestone.

Red Bull and Mercedes, meanwhile, have experienced low-key starts to pre-season testing.

The 2021 title battlers both encountered problems on Thursday that limited their time on the track, with fans wondering whether their relentless push to win the 2021 title has left them trailing their rivals for 2022.

Mercedes and Red Bull yet to show their cards

But Ricciardo reckons last season's title challengers are choosing to keep their pace a secret for now, while McLaren and Ferrari hog the headlines.

"It's hard to quantify who's ahead of the moment, for sure," he said.

"On the one hand, all you want is laps and we've had both days over 100 laps. I think we're in a good place from that point of view.

"We seem to be at the pointy end of the times, but yeah, I don't think Mercedes and Red Bull have really done anything, showing any cards yet, so I don't really look [into it] too much.

"Ferrari, I think they look solid, they look consistently good. But yeah, I'm not trying to read too much into it yet."

McLaren keep Ricciardo smiling in Barcelona

It has been said many times that lap count trumps pace at this stage of pre-season, as teams look to learn as much as they can about their new cars.

McLaren's lap count has proven impressive thus far, with another 126 circuits added to their testing tally on Wednesday.

"I think it was a positive day," he continued. "Every lap I do, I'm learning more and more, so that was positive.

"We did a few long runs and then a couple of shorter ones. We did everything we set out for. The new cars look cool; they feel pretty good as well.

"Let's see what happens now. We'll see how the test plays out. I think we've started off on the right foot."

Also interesting:

Video: McLaren present their new F1 car!

Check out McLaren's new F1 challenger, the MCL36, which was presented to the world during a special launch ceremony.

F1 2022 Barcelona pre-season test RN365 News dossier

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