Ricciardo: Red Bull in best shape I've known

Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull is more prepared for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign than it had been in any of his previous seasons with the team.

The Aussie is heading into his fifth season with the outfit, having been promoted from Toro Rosso in 2014.

Red Bull's new 2018 car – the RB14 - covered 783 laps across the two weeks of pre-season testing in Barcelona in the hands of Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen.

This is more laps than the team had done across two weeks last year – or across three weeks in 2014 at the start of the hybrid era – but fewer than it had logged in 2015 and 2016.

But with all teams having come up short on mileage due to difficult weather during the first week, Ricciardo is convinced Red Bull hasn't been this well-prepared for the season opener since he'd joined.

"We're certainly more ready than we were last year - and probably every year before that since I've been with the team," Ricciardo said.

"We did a lot of laps, I think the pace of the car is not bad, I think we still have some things to improve, it's normal.

"But yeah, going to the race and having confidence to push the car on the limit and to push the engine a little bit, I think we have much more confidence now."

Ricciardo said Red Bull completed all the tasks it had set out to do in the test, adding: "It's not always the case, especially the last few years it's been tough for us.

"Last week it was frustrating, I felt like we were losing track time and losing testing time before the season. But this week fortunately we got to do a lot more."

While Ferrari has set the fastest outright laptime of the test, it's Red Bull that has been frequently named as the biggest threat to reigning champion team Mercedes.

Ricciardo believes that his team is closer to the sharp end of the grid, but does not think the RB14 is the car to beat just yet.

"I think we're looking okay," he said. "I don't think we're yet the fastest car, I think we've still got to find a bit of time, but I think we'll be close enough to be in the hunt."

Asked if Red Bull was now between Mercedes and Ferrari in the pecking order, he said: "The other day [it was] maybe a bit like that, but Ferrari turned it up the last couple of days, they had pretty good pace. And then you see some other teams throw in some quick times.

"I think we still do have some laptime to find, but I do believe we're in the ballpark.

"What does 'the ballpark' mean? I don't know. We're there, there or thereabouts."

Additional reporting by Erwin Jaeggi

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Barcelona March testing
Track Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo
Teams Red Bull Racing
Article type Breaking news