Red Bull slipped back in the second practice session from fourth and fifth, to seventh and ninth – with the surprise of Jenson Button’s McLaren heading the chasing pack in third place.
The Australian was held back by a ruined set of tyres caused by a lock up, and the virtual safety cars at the end of the session caused by Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari and Romain Grosjean who lost part of the front wing of his Haas with just fifteen minutes of the days running remaining. Although they are leaded with the long fuel runs, there are still question marks over the qualifying pace, and the fact it is quite a high speed circuit, difficult with their Renault engine.
Ricciardo said at the end of the day, “Dany is probably happier with his Friday than I was with mine.
“This morning wasn’t too bad but from the very first lap this afternoon I locked the front into Turn 1 which killed that set of tyres. We couldn’t use that set for the long run which compromised our afternoon programme. With the super softs on the low fuel we still needed to find a bit more balance, and with the high fuel run, we were interrupted with the virtual safety cars.
“We still have some homework to do but we’ll see how tomorrow goes. I think Q3 will be on the edge for us, but the race will be better.”
As Ricciardo suggested, his teammate Daniil Kvyat was happier, “All in all it was a good Friday for us which was crucial after what was a pretty disastrous weekend in Melbourne.
“We were aiming to do good mileage, which we achieved and we have a lot of data to go through tonight. We hope to continue this form into tomorrow and maybe make a couple of steps forward.
“There were a few surprises today in terms of pace, obviously McLaren was one of them. There may be some more surprises tomorrow depending who makes it click overnight but I’m pretty confident we will be in good shape.”