Daniel Ricciardo admits Friday's largely trouble-free day in Bahrain has gone a long way towards boosting morale at Red Bull Racing.
Focusing on short runs and pit stop practice, the Aussie put in just 15 laps on Friday morning and was a full five seconds off the pace.
However, returning to the action in the afternoon, Ricciardo not only managed longer runs but also upped the pace.
He eventually finished the day on a 1:35.743 which was just 0.173s off the P1 time and put him third for the day.
"It went a lot better today," he said.
"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 tyre, 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 tyres.
"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."
"A big improvement everywhere over yesterday and a much more optimistic outlook now I think..."Daniel Ricciardo
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