Ricciardo still hopeful of challenging Mercedes in race

Daniel Ricciardo is still hopeful his Red Bull team can challenge Mercedes in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite being off the pace in Friday practice.

As Mercedes once again dominated the day, Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen were outpaced by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

The Red Bull duo were over half a second off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton in FP2, but Ricciardo remains confident his team can still find more speed to be able to fight Mercedes on Sunday.

"I think we can find that little bit for tomorrow and it will be a good fight for third place," said Ricciardo, who was fifth fastest.

"Mercedes as expected are ahead but not miles ahead. Looking at today I think maybe we can still race them on Sunday, which is nice."

Verstappen, meanwhile, is convinced Red Bull will be stronger than Ferrari, although he concedes it will be a close fight.

"I think it will be tight," he said. "Ferrari is quite strong this weekend but I am sure we can be stronger.

"We are not too far off. Ferrari looks very strong as well and my fastest lap I had traffic on last corner. I am quite sure we are close. It will be an exciting qualifying tomorrow."

The Dutch driver said he would have matched Vettel's lap if not for traffic on his flying lap.

"You can see Ferrari is 0.25 seconds off and I am pretty sure we can do that as on my fastest lap I got blocked," he added. "I lost two or three tenths there. We are not too far off."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble 

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Abu Dhabi GP
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo , Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Article type Breaking news