Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull is “looking pretty good” following practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday as he goes in search of a third straight podium finish in Budapest.
Expectations were high at Red Bull given the tight and twisting nature of the Hungaroring circuit which plays to the strengths of the RB12 car.
Ricciardo finished second to Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in FP2 on Friday afternoon, half a second adrift of the current Formula 1 drivers’ championship leader.
“We’re looking pretty good, we’d like to be a bit closer to Mercedes but at the moment we’re sitting sort-of second best, a bit quicker than Ferrari today, so we are more or less where we expected to be,” Ricciardo said after the session.
“We knew it would be close with Ferrari, so if we can keep our nose in front that would be nice. I think we’re in a pretty good position for a Friday.
“The new track surface isn’t massively different, it’s a bit smoother but the nature of the track is still the same. I was a little bit worried it would lose some of its character, but I think it’s still much the same.
“As more cars drive on the track during the weekend, it should come up and get quicker and quicker. We have to target top three; the last two years we have had podiums here, so three years in a row would be nice.”
Teammate Max Verstappen finished narrowly behind Ricciardo in both sessions, and believes Red Bull got closer to Mercedes as the day wore on.
“We started quite easily in FP1 today and worked through our programme,” Verstappen said.
“FP2 was much better; we were a lot closer to the pace of the Mercedes and the long runs were looking good so I’m happy about that. I made a little mistake in the last sector on my fast lap but these things happen, hopefully just today and not tomorrow.
“I want to improve the car a bit for the race, Ferrari are not too far away so we shall see what happens tomorrow in qualifying. The weather on Sunday could be warmer which usually means more issues with the tires but it’s the same for everyone so let’s wait and see.”