Red Bull Racing enjoyed its best day of the season so far in Bahrain as Daniel Ricciardo completed 66 laps and set the third fastest time of the day in a run on soft tires.
While those numbers are encouraging, the distance covered was far below the 100 plus laps managed by five rival teams today, and while fast for today, Ricciardo’s time was still 2.5 seconds off the best lap recorded last week.
The car ran today with some temporary cooling fixes.
“It went a lot better today,” said Ricciardo. “This morning it was important to have the race crew here to do the pit stops, as they haven’t had the chance to get to grips with the car yet, so we didn’t do that many laps in the morning. However, in the afternoon we did some good stuff. We had a go on the soft tire, which was nice, to see how the car responds with a bit more grip.
“We also did one long run at the end, which was very important, just to see how the car is behaving with the tires. A big improvement everywhere over yesterday and a much more optimistic outlook now I think. We still have a lot to learn and understand, but we’re making progress and the past two days have been a big step in the right direction.”
Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum said that it was an encouraging day for the team, depsite a late start.
“A very much better day’s work for us today,” he noted. “We were a bit late out in the morning, but that was simply due to the repairs we had to make overnight because of the damage we had yesterday. That was pretty much a ‘fix in the field’. When we did send Daniel out this morning we again put him on short runs just to test everything, as obviously you don’t want to push too hard, have a problem and then wreck the rest of the day. That cautious approach also allowed us to do some pit stop practice, which we haven’t done as yet and also to do some aero work on the car.
“That sort of thing is always going on in the background but I suppose today was the first time it has been visible. We were back in the garage over lunch to make some changes, though nothing drastic, and then in the afternoon we were very much better again. Daniel was able to do a longer run of 20 timed laps, our longest so far. The car is still difficult to drive for Daniel, but we’ll tune that out. We have more parts to fit overnight and hopefully we’ll be able to get some more decent runs in with Sebastian (Vettel) over the next two days and also give him the opportunity to do some performance runs.”