Red Bull “closing the gap” to Mercedes – Ricciardo

2014 Chinese Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull are reducing the margin of superiority Mercedes enjoy and may be able to threaten them with their pace in tomorrow’s race.

“I think the long run looks rally promising,” said Ricciardo, who did a competitive stint during yesterday’s second practice session.

“Whether it was good enough to have overtaken them if it was a race situation we don’t know. But it did look like one of out better long runs.”

“I think we are closing that gap,” he added. “We’ve got to just keep at it.”

Ricciardo admitted straight-line speed remains the team’s major weakness:

“It looks like it’s still going to be dry for tomorrow. I think anyway in the dry we still have a pretty good pace. I think the Mercedes are going to be quicker in both conditions as we’ve seen today, I don’t know if Nico [Rosberg] had a problem.

“But I don’t know, I think it’s just for us to get a good start and keep the head down, down the straight, try and get a bit more speed out of it and see how we go.”

Ricciardo will start from the front row of the grid after producing a fast lap at the end of Q3 to beat team mate Sebastian Vettel.

“Yeah it was really, really good,” said Ricciardo. “Really only the last set of tyres at the very end of Q3, managed to pull something out which was nice.”

“The whole session I was not particularly comfortable, wasn’t really getting to grips with the conditions as quickly or as well as I would have liked. But we made a couple of changes for that last run and put everything out there on that last lap so, yeah, happy with that.”

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17 comments on Red Bull “closing the gap” to Mercedes – Ricciardo

  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 19th April 2014, 9:33

    I seriously doubt it RIC.

  2. andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 19th April 2014, 10:05

    Ricciardo’s been saying they’re closing the gap since Malaysia.

  3. Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 19th April 2014, 10:33

    Probably, but overall I hardly believe it. It’s not like Mercedes is upgrading their car too, so the gap may even widen. Personally, I think the RB10 is like 3rd-4th car on the grid regarding the “pure performance”, Ferrari being faster, at least in the hands of Alonso. It’s just their performance drops a lot less compared to Ferrari when Quali and Race rules take over. Here, in China, the dry FP1 and FP2 proved that Ferrari is not slow. The wet FP3 and Quali mixed things again and Ferrari fell again in the standings in both sessions. It’s obvious the Ferrari is not performing good in wet conditions. They didn’t perform well in any of the wet sessions this season.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 19th April 2014, 11:15

      @corrado-dub
      If Ferrari were the second best car, do you really think Domenicali would have resigned from his position ?? If it is like that they were dominating in the last 4 years . Where have you been mate, it was a tornado in Maranello last week. The thing is the RB10 has clearly the best aero package,Helmut Marko said that if Renault could reduce the deficit to Mercedes to 0.5s the RB10 can do the rest. In wet conditions the cars always needs the maximum downforce, aerodynamic efficiency counts less because of the reduced speeds, RIC was almost on pole in the Australian GP, Vettel was breathing down Roseberg’s neck for more than half the race in Malaysia, it was the Mercedes power that saved Roseberg when Vettel was pushing behind him, In Bahrain it was obvious that Mercedes would dominate with 4 straight lines. Ferrari on the other hand doesn’t have the Mercedes power nor the aero of RBR what makes you think it is faster than RBR ?

      • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 19th April 2014, 11:42

        Sorry, was… just watching F1 for the last 17 years. LOL.

        Do not agree. You’re separating the car into parts (chassis, engine, aero etc) and then compare the parts. I’m comparing the CARS, not the their parts, and then the final results, which speak for themselves. Said this already, Alonso set the fastest time per lap, Mercedes apart, in every GP Weekend so far. I’m comparing the dry sessions because the maximum performance is achievable in dry conditions, of course. Yeah, I’m talking about the FPs, and it’s not relevant for most of you, but the dry FPs show the pure performance of the cars best. These sessions are not disturbed that much by all kind of “special” setups, tyres management, fuel saving, fuel sensors etc like the Quali and Race. If there was less restrictions (= tyres to last ~25 laps without losing performance, no fuel restrictions, no engine restrictions etc), I think Ferrari would have done a lot better in Quali and Race.

    • The Ferrari is hardly a faster car. I don’t know what parameters you have analysed or come to that outlandish conclusion, but from all the observations of experienced paddock members the consensus has been that the RB10 has a chassis to rival the Mercedes. And that is proven time and again in the high downforce sectors (another area of strength), where change of balance is critical to laptime: Red Bull have been well up there with Mercedes, in instances even bettering them.

      Their critical Achilles’ heel is straight line speed caused by a major power deficit to the Mercedes. They also lack the refinement of the various electronic systems which Mercedes seem to have nailed – and will progressively be improved by Red Bull in tandem with Renault.

      They are the primary contenders to Mercedes, that is almost without question. And as a fan I should be downplaying expectations – the fact I am not exudes confidence in their ability and their machinery.

      • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 19th April 2014, 11:52

        I’ll underline: I’m talking about the PURE PERFORMANCE of the cars ! What parameters I’m comparing ?!? Well, the fastest lap(s) over a GP Weenkend. Then, why are you splitting the cars into parts and then compare them ?!??! Having a better engine and electronics is the CAR too, part of the game. It’s RBR’s problem if they have a poor engine and electronics… but the rest of the car is awesome. Nobody stopped them from switching to a Mercedes (or Ferrari) engine. So, as long as the engine and/or electrics, electronics have an impact on the performance of a car… stop saying RBR has a better car. They don’t ! It’s obvious !

        • Mads (@mads) said on 19th April 2014, 12:15

          Nobody stopped them from switching to a Mercedes (or Ferrari) engine

          Neither Mercedes or Ferrari would sell engines to Red Bull. That would completely eradicate any advantage they might have over them, so I think you will find that Red Bull were “forced” to use Renault engine, whether they wanted them or not.

          • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 19th April 2014, 12:35

            OK, I may see things differently, but I think that RBR’s problem. Maybe they should develop their own engine then. In my opinion, every team’s problems IS their own… problem. Just as Ferrari’s lack of winning is their own problem/fault… and everybody is blaming strictly them for that. But, in RBR’s case, everybody seems to “wash out” their car faults by saying that others have better “this” and “that”. If we’re separating things like this, then I can say that if Ferrari had a Honda engine back in the 87-93, then McLaren/Senna/Prost would have been just some losers. That did not happen and it was Ferrari’s problem that they not developed a better car/engine than McLaren/Honda.

          • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 19th April 2014, 12:49

            @corrado-dub – I really cannot see how a soft drinks company would at all be interested in developing an engine. They have zero interest in cars and manufacturing outside of F1.

        • Well, they do. That’s why they are beating Ferrari. I don’t think that is a difficult concept to grasp.

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 19th April 2014, 20:23

          I’ll underline: I’m talking about the PURE PERFORMANCE of the cars !

          Then have a look at Ferrari lap times in the Bahrain race and not in some practice sessions, the F14T in Bahrain was sometimes only faster than Sauber,Marussia and Caterham. Did you see Luca ??

  4. Toxic said on 19th April 2014, 14:09

    Well I do think that they may have closed the gap a little but I doubt they are close enough to really challenge Merc in the race. Looking at their sector times it’s clear that aerodynamically RB10 is superb but not much enough to challenge Merc just yet. Maybe at the time when they’re back in Europe RB have better chance. There are some tracks that do not require as much power as China and instead are more demanding aerodunamically. I guess that’s where Red Bull may even be in front of Merc on pure pace.

  5. Jorge H. (@kobe08) said on 19th April 2014, 16:14

    @Keith: “Rally promissing”? Does RIC means the bulls will be sliding all over the place like a WRC car? :D (second paragraph)

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