Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2016

Ricciardo runs Mercedes close but suspects they have hidden pace

2016 United States Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Daniel Ricciardo was not getting carried away by his performance after lapping within two tenths of a second of the Mercedes drivers on Friday in Austin.

The Red Bull driver suspects Mercedes will pull further ahead on Saturday as they have done on several occasions this year.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2016
United States Grand Prix Friday practice in pictures
“If we’ve got the pace we had today against the Mercedes on Sunday then it’s going to be a fun race,” the Malaysian Grand Prix winner told reporters at the track.

“I think we will have some overtaking ahead of us. I’m not sure where they are with engines and all that, how conservative they’re running but today we look good.”

Ricciardo managed to split the two Mercedes drivers in his qualifying simulation run. “The low fuel pace, I think it was OK,” he said. “I mean it looks good on the time sheets, I think we can still find a bit more but I’m sure Mercedes will probably have a bit more.”

“But looking at where Ferrari were, it was a solid day. Our long run pace, we’re happy with that and felt like we got some good consistent laps out of it and were able to chip away the whole day. We made progress from P1 and pretty happy with where we’re ended up. Hopefully not too much on tonight, a little bit of fine-tuning and that’ll be it.”

Hamilton was one of few drivers who did not improve his lap time in the warmer afternoon session, suggesting his Mercedes has further performance locked away. He spent the second part of his race simulation on medium compound tyres on which he complained of a vibration. But on his longer run on the super-soft tyres he showed similar pace to Ricciardo late in the stint (see graph below).

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Ferrari had a less promising day, finishing over eight tenths of a second behind Mercedes. A repeat of their Suzuka qualifying performance, where they beat both Red Bulls, seems unlikely. Sebastian Vettel also collected his first reprimand of the season after passing the pit entry bollard on the wrong side.

McLaren placed inside the top ten on Friday but can expect Williams to be stronger on Saturday as usual. Nonetheless the fight for the final Q3 places should be fierce: Jenson Button in eighth to Felipe Massa eight places back were covered by half a second.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.7431’37.35860
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.4281’37.64957
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’39.9631’37.55259
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’39.9881’38.17850
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’39.3791’38.25855
6Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’39.7121’38.50859
7Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’38.56831
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’41.6631’38.71350
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’40.3621’38.80156
10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’39.4071’38.86552
11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.1401’38.97157
12Kevin MagnussenRenault1’41.9421’39.15945
13Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’40.2871’39.18944
14Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’39.7761’39.19764
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.1311’39.20252
16Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’40.1911’39.28157
17Jolyon PalmerRenault1’42.3321’39.45565
18Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’40.8261’39.55439
19Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’43.8741’40.08654
20Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’40.9701’40.11441
21Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’41.1701’40.21945
22Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’41.13131
23Alfonso CelisForce India-Mercedes1’41.42227
24Jordan KingManor-Mercedes1’42.01229

2016 United States Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Ricciardo runs Mercedes close but suspects they have hidden pace”

  1. You can do it danny boy😃😃😃

    1. Got beaten by Kvyat last year and Verstappen this year, he can’t do it.

      1. Excuse me? He leads Verstappen this year.

      2. Chin what are u on about??? Please explain

  2. Hidden pace here, hidden there. Etc etc Let’s be realistic here. The only chance Red Bull or Ferrari have at finishing 2nd is a Mercedes clutch slip, breakdown or crash.

  3. Is it possible to have the type of tyre used/new during the long/short stint also? Because during the session i,saw sainz in white medium tyre, vettel yellow soft, riccardio red super soft…

    Will be useful to read in the datas we receiving

  4. Hamilton was one of few drivers who did not improve his lap time in the warmer afternoon session

    The others were Alfonso Celis and Jordan King ;-)

Comments are closed.