In a day with a bit of more action, Daniel and his boys (and girls) from RBR prepare to grab as much info they can for a good race on Sunday on the Free Practice 3, before going for speed on Quali.
FREE PRACTICE 3
It was like backwards from 2016. If you remember correctly, FP1 and FP2 of the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix were on dry, with FP3 done in wet. Well, the gods were good with us this time around, and while it prevent us from having something to look at on Friday, today gave us a bit on sun to start FP3.
Daniel did the first few fastest timed laps for a while with a 1:37.411 – which was upgraded to a 1:35.647 in softs – even when he was feeling a pretty weak front. By the end of the session, Daniel only managed to improved the previously stated time to a 1:35.092, 1.7s behind the pace of FP3 leader Seb Vettel staying back on 7th.
Our guess was that Daniel was that far behind because, since there wasn’t a FP2 and FP1 gave so little, they needed to bring on data for quali instead of speed, but it was keeping us worried during the break before Q1.
Daniel first timed lap proved to be good enough to be safe for Q2, with a 1:34.041 on supersofts, but that wasn’t the case of Daniel’s teammate, Max Verstappen. After finishing P6 on FP3, Max reported on the radio coms that something wasn’t right with the engine. He attempted to do a quick lap anyway but when Giovinazzi hit the barriers and triggered yellow flags during the final seconds of Q1, the younger Bull was kicked out on the last grid line. It was later confirmed that Max suffered an engine software issue that limited his power to only 4 cylinders.
Q2 was slightly delayed to pick up the bits and pieces Giovinazzi’s borrowed Sauber. Again, his first timed lap in Q2 was enough, a 1:33.546 put Daniel behind both Ferraris and Mercedes. One Red Bull and one Toro Rosso made it to Q3, with Carlos Sainz being left behind on P11.
Then, on Q3, Daniel went again and did it on his first timed lap, with a 1:33.261 that put him on 5th. He managed a 1:33.033 (LOOK AT THOSE 3!) but he stayed on 5th, which seemed like the best possible place for Bull. This was the end of the qualifying classification.
“Personally I’m happy with what I was able to get out of the car this afternoon but obviously as a team and as a driver we want more.” – Ricciardo
“You won’t see me looking disappointed if it rains tomorrow as the wet conditions always create more opportunities and it will be up to me to maximise those if it happens.” – Ricciardo
“We will do all we can to be on the podium.” – Ricciardo
“I think Daniel extracted everything possible from the car today, fifth is a fair reflection on where we currently are.” – Christian Horner
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 8, 2017