A wary Daniel Ricciardo says Ferrari’s form during the opening test at Jerez suggests the Maranello-based team has made real progress over the winter.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen topped three out of four days of running for Ferrari at the opening test, with the Finn setting the fastest time of the entire week on the final day.
While it remains unclear what programme Ferrari was running at Jerez, Ricciardo says a similar performance at the upcoming Barcelona tests would require its rivals to reassess the Scuderia’s potential.
“We are aware of what Mercedes did, and the lap time Ferrari put down. It looked good,” Ricciardo told the official Australian Grand Prix podcast.
“We expect nothing less of Mercedes to be honest, but Ferrari looked like they came out pretty strong.
“For now they look good, but it is one of those things. It is still early and Jerez is a place we do not race at, and we never drive in conditions that are five-to-eight degrees. And the track is really, really abrasive there.
“They look good, but are they going to be the same once we start racing? I think Barcelona will get us a step closer to that, and then we’ll see where we are.
“But I’m not taking anything away from them; I think they have come out in good form.”
Red Bull managed 165 laps at the opening test, in contrast to the 516 completed by its rivals Mercedes, but Ricciardo remains optimistic about the team’s chances.
“There were two ways to look at it. You could have a bit of frustration looking at how many laps Mercedes did, or you can look at the optimistic picture and look at where we were this time last year,” he added.
“I think most of us looked at the optimistic one. It was a lot better than last year, but for sure we are still trying to find our feet. We’ve got time on our side and we are pretty quick at turning it around.
“It was not a disaster by any means, and I think we will just look to keep chipping away now over the next eight days at Barcelona.”
This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Images courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool and Scuderia Ferrari