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Daniel Ricciardo

Why Ricciardo is preaching caution despite test threat

Daniel Ricciardo finished the opening F1 test day a positive fourth quickest but played down its significance

Ricciardo Bahrain test
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Daniel Ricciardo was left sounding a note of caution despite posing a threat to the top teams following the opening day of F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Despite an initial delay to his programme in taking over the Visa Cash App RB from team-mate Yuki Tsunoda for the four-hour afternoon session, Ricciardo went on to post the fourth quickest time with a lap of one minute 32.599s.

Although 1.225s adrift of the ominous-looking Max Verstappen in his Red Bull, McLaren's Lando Norris and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz were within touching distance of the Australian at the end of the day's running.

For Ricciardo, it was a case of "so far so good," albeit conceding that "we need to be a little bit cautious".

He added, speaking to media including RacingNews365: "As the season goes on, the target is the front of the midfield. I would say now, where we are, it's probably more in the midfield. I'm not sure we're yet at the front but that is certainly our target.

"I know some people are quite excited about us coming into the season, but I want to play it a little bit cautious.

"Look, we have a decent car, but we still have a lot of work to do, and the numbers we brought for the test, we believe there are still some things to find.

"The long term, and big picture, is to be fighting at the front of the midfield. I'm not sure that we will start the season there."

Ricciardo made clear the car was an evolution on the one that finished last season's campaign in Abu Dhabi, despite appearing to be aesthetically alternative to its predecessor.

"From the outside, it's very different but inside the car, it's an evolution of Abu Dhabi," said Ricciardo.

"We brought an update for that race, and it's just a continuation of that now. There's a new chassis and everything but the philosophy is still a continuation from there.

"The car felt, in a positive way, quite comfortable because it was similar to last year, but looking at the big car, the Red Bull, there's some lap time to find obviously."

"I know it's just day one but there are still some cars that are faster than us, not only the Red Bull but a couple of others, so still some things to find.

"But the general feel and balance is okay, so it's now just about finding a bit more lap time."

As to where those gains could be made, he said: "It's going to come from aero. It's all us midfield teams talk about to catch those top teams. It's trying to find those gains in aero, and then there's drag as well.

"So sometimes you can find load, remove drag, and that's the key. That's what the top teams have done well, and that's what we need to work on."

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