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Daniel Ricciardo thought Red Bull could fight for F1 win in Bahrain

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Daniel Ricciardo believed that Red Bull had a genuine chance of winning Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Bahrain before issues on the soft compound tire caused him to drop back from the leading runners.

Red Bull had been around one second per lap adrift of Ferrari and Mercedes in the opening two races of the year, but a good start saw Max Verstappen run fourth for the team ahead of Ricciardo in fifth.

Valtteri Bottas’ slow pace at the front of the pack allowed the Red Bull drivers to stay within three seconds of the leader, giving Ricciardo hope of a breakthrough win in 2017.

A safety car period allowed Ricciardo to jump up to third ahead of Lewis Hamilton, only for his soft tires to struggle to get up to temperature, causing him to fall back on the restart.

“The safety car was nice, we jumped up to third, but it wasn’t nice to our tires. That’s where we lost a lot of ground today,” Ricciardo told NBCSN after the race.

“We got going, but I struggled with both front and rear grip. Even then we settled into a pace, let’s say the chaos settled, we never got the tire really working. The soft was a real pain today. I was at the tail end of the pack. But I felt I was in best condition. Others slid and I managed the tires well.

“I genuinely thought we could fight for the win but we fell back.”

Ricciardo was left to endure a lonely race en route to fifth place for Red Bull, leaving him to think of his own fun in the car.

“I was singing songs to myself, thinking about a good night’s rest,” Ricciardo said.

“One [song] from Austin last year, No Devil by Sam Firman. It’s a good song.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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