Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull is ‘feeling better about itself’ than it was this time last year after a more productive winter testing.
The energy drinks company suffered a slow start to 2017 with a series of correlation issues while producing its car in the wind tunnel, thus putting them on the back foot for the opening flyaway races.
However, Red Bull is confident those issues have been addressed on this year’s RB14, with Ricciardo and Max Verstappen sticking the team near the top of the timesheets for most of pre-season.
Although Red Bull is downplaying its cars performance, Ricciardo is optimistic ahead of the new season, and believes the Milton Keynes outfit will be ‘in the hunt’ for victories.
“We had some strong pace in testing at times but then you see others and you think you’re there and then you’re like, ‘Ah, I dunno!’,” Riccardo said.
“So I think we’re looking OK. I don’t think we’re the fastest car yet, 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.
“It’s been a better winter than last year as far as our performance went and we did a lot of laps, so we’re feeling better about ourselves than we were 12 months ago.”
Although confident of challenging Mercedes’ crown, the Australian says Ferrari’s pace at the conclusion of testing has left Red Bull snatching its heads as to whether they are the second-quickest team.
“The other day, maybe a bit like that, but Ferrari turned it up the last couple of days,” Ricciardo added. “They had pretty good pace.
“It’s hard to say. Then you see some other teams throw in some quick times, so… I don’t think we’re yet the quickest, so I think we do still have some lap time to find but I do believe we’re in the ballpark. What does a ‘ballpark’ mean? I don’t know! But we’re there or thereabouts.”