Red Bulls Expect Strong Challenge from Ferrari This Weekend
Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo expects a strong challenge from Ferrari at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas this weekend.
The Australian F1 driver says his team must get everything right in order to beat its rival for 2nd place in the constructors’ championship.
The Ferraris qualified together on the 2nd row in Japan, but both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were penalized, handing the advantage to the Red Bull drivers on race day.
“I think that Ferrari have been extremely fast lately,” said Mr. Ricciardo. “In Japan they did a very good job. Probably quicker than we expected. But it’s been a bit like that, some places we’ve been quicker where we didn’t expect, but then we’ve gone to places like Japan where we thought we would be quicker than them, and we weren’t necessarily.
“It’s still a bit confusing for everyone to know who’s got the better package and what tracks suit who. Maybe they just got it right that weekend, and put it all together. Obviously Seb still didn’t end up with a podium. I haven’t watched the complete race back, but it looked like he had a car for the podium. I think they probably underachieved what the car was capable of. But nonetheless I expect them to be I guess pretty quick here.”
Mr. Ricciardo believes that the sweeping corners early in the lap will suit the Italian team: “I think it’s going to be close. It’s sort of guesswork now. The high-speed stuff in Sector One is in a way similar to maybe what we have in Suzuka Sector One, and they were pretty strong there. I think we will have our work cut out, if both our cars want to finish in front of them, we’ll have to execute everything pretty well.”
Mr. Ricciardo said there was a reason why he suffered in comparison to Max Verstappen in Suzuka, joking in an American accent: “I just had too many ribs, I was a bit too heavy down the rear, and the car was squatting low. The team said you gotta watch your diet sir, and I said, well hell, if I’m going to drive fast I’m going to drive fast no matter what. In the end it bit me in the backside, but hey, you live and you learn, as they say.”
He then added a more plausible explanation: “I think to be honest I think we did have a slightly different setup, I think maybe with the rear springs, and I think that did mean I had to run a different ride height, and perhaps that had an influence.”
Sebastian Vettel dodged talk about his prospects of a new contract at Ferrari when he faced the media Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the United States Grand Prix, the 4X world champion said he was instead focusing on the final4 races of this season, and developments for next year.
“We are all fairly busy at the moment, focusing on the last 4 races and focusing in particular on next year,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s that important to look into details such as my contract. It’s fine for next year.
“There are a lot of things happening back in the factory, I know we are very busy and that’s where I want the focus to be.”
Mr. Vettel spoke amid mounting speculation over his future following a public warning from Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene that he is not guaranteed a new deal after next year.
“Sebastian has a contract with us. We work together this year and next year. Then during next year we’ll see,” he said.
“Each of us has goals. So it is only right that anyone, no matter who it is, earns their place and their salary.”
Mr. Vettel joined Ferrari last year and delivered victories and promise, but this season he remains winless and has slipped to 6th in the drivers’ championship.
Austin is expected to turn on sunny weather from Friday through to Sunday, in contrast to last year’s rain.
- Formula One Free Practice #1, Friday at 11:00a on NBCSN
- Formula One Free Practice #2, Friday at 3:00p on NBCSN
- Formula One Free Practice #3, Saturday at 11:00a on NBCSports.com
- Formula One Qualifying, Saturday at 12:30p on NBCSN
- F1 Countdown, Sunday at 2:30pon NBC
- Formula One – United States Grand Prix, Sunday at 3:00p on NBC
- F1 Extra, Sunday at 5:00p on NBC
Have a terrific weekend.