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Ricciardo wary single-lap pace could hurt Red Bull's Hungary chances

Written by  Jul 28, 2018

Daniel Ricciardo is worried Red Bull's hopes of victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix could be dashed by their continued lack of single-lap pace compared to Mercedes and Ferrari.

Around the twists and turns of the Hungaroring, the Milton Keynes outfit was equal to Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in practice on Friday with Max Verstappen the only driver to join the German in the 1m16's.

However, it was the four-tenth deficit in the first sector, where the majority of the straights are, which has irked the Australian, particularly with the other top teams able to increase the power further in qualifying.

“Mercedes will find more on one lap, Ferrari already seems fast. They are probably the target everyone’s trying to chase,” Ricciardo said.

“Over one lap we didn’t execute it perfectly so I’m confident there are a few tenths in the package.”

With a race car that is more than a match for their rivals, it has always been the inability to start higher than fifth and sixth which has hurt Red Bull, and the 29-year-old is desperate to avoid a repeat on Saturday.

“I think even with a good race car, the first row is the one I want to qualify on, no doubt,” Ricciardo claimed.

“Second row wouldn’t be a disaster. [But] we don’t want to be on the third row. We don’t want to make too much work for ourselves.”

Asked what result he considers realistic, however...

“If we can execute a good lap tomorrow we can still be there, close enough. I’d love to say pole but I’d take a top three," he said. "With a faster car [in the race], we can win from there.”

What may help Red Bull's situation is Mercedes' inability to keep the Ultrasoft tyre within the right operating window during a lap, having suffered from overheating which equated to mistakes in the final sector in second practice.

"I am expecting them to be there tomorrow,” Verstappen commented.

“We look competitive of course with our car, but if it’s going to be enough to compensate that from the straight line losses here, I’m not sure.”

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