Daniel Ricciardo insists that Renault are stronger in Japan than their FP2 times suggest.
The Aussie ended FP2 in P17, 0.8s slower than McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, while Ricciardo’s team-mate Nico Hulkenberg could manage only P18 in the second practice session.
But, those positions could come back to bite the team because if qualifying, which has been moved to Sunday morning courtesy of Typhoon Hagibis, can’t get underway, then the FP2 standings will form the grid for the race.
Ricciardo isn’t worried heading into the race though, believing that the team have much more pace to offer than what the timesheets in FP2 suggested.
“Unfortunately, both low-fuel laps were compromised with traffic,” he told the F1 website.
“We’re better than what the timesheets say, and I don’t think we’re too far off from where we want to be.
“Hopefully we can have a good qualifying and then be in a better position to race on Sunday.”
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) October 11, 2019
Hulkenberg admitted that it was a “tough” day for the team, but was happy with how it progressed after suffering from “balance problems” in Sector 1 of the Suzuka circuit.
“It was a tough Friday for us,” he explained.
“We made some changes between sessions that seemed to help. We had some balance problems with a lack of grip, especially in Sector 1, but worked through it to end the day happier.
“The times aren’t strictly representative as we ran out of sync with the others. It’s a day off tomorrow with the typhoon coming in, but we will look at everything in detail and be ready to go straight away on Sunday.”
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