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Ricciardo questions Pirelli’s F1 tire selection for Spanish GP

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Daniel Ricciardo has questioned Pirelli’s decision to bring its hardest Formula 1 tire compounds to next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, believing they will be “way too hard”.

Pirelli made its tires more conservative and long-lasting for 2017 as part of its revised compound make-ups, as well as increasing their size by 25 per cent to come in line with the new regulations.

Two of the three dry races so far this year have been completed with one pit stop, with last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix seeing teams use the softest two compounds on offer with very little degradation.

Pirelli will debut its new hard tire in Spain next weekend, selecting the soft and mediums as well to cope with the abrasive nature of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Having sampled Pirelli’s 2017 compounds, Ricciardo believes that this is the wrong choice and that the tires are too hard.

“We’re going for the harder tires for the first time this year in Barcelona. I’m not sure if it’ll help us or not but I just don’t think it’s going to be good for anyone,” Ricciardo said.

“The tires are already hard enough so the harder compounds are just way too hard. Hopefully for Barcelona’s sake it’s hot and therefore these harder tires work, but if it’s cold then it’s going to be a struggle for everyone.”

Red Bull will bring a significant update for its RB13 car to Barcelona, and Ricciardo hopes that it can vault the team into the fight at the front of the pack with Mercedes and Ferrari.

“I hope the upgrade will give us a chance to really fight with Mercedes and Ferrari or at least get us closer,” Ricciardo said.

“The reason why it comes in Barcelona is that we put everything back in the factory were very busy so now I hope that it’s a quicker improvement. It means that the people who do the work behind the scenes get their reward as well.

“It’s a good feeling for everyone when these upgrades work.”

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

HISTORY IN SIGHTLewis Hamilton aims to tie Michael Schumacher’s record

The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.