Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Ricciardo: Top teams still have a gap over the rest

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says F1’s top team will still have an advantage over the rest of the field this year.

What they say


I think it’s going to be very close in the midfield battle. I don’t expect to be on the front row but I don’t expect to be on the last row so we’re going to be somewhere there in the middle. But it could even come down to which driver does the better lap in Q2 or Q3 and that could change it.

I think a lot of the cars are going to be very close and there’s not going to be much in it. So it could just be whoever does a cleaner lap could make a difference with one or three positions. So I’m looking forward to that for sure, just seeing where everyone stands.

I think it’s it’s been pretty close this testing. You’re still going to get the top couple of teams having a bit of a gap at the start the season but the midfield, it certainly seems like it’s going to be it’s going to be on. It could also just be down to track temperatures, which layout suits a particular team.

I don’t also think that what we see in Melbourne is going to be the way the whole season plays out. I think it’s going to change quite a bit throughout the season especially in the first probably six races also.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Is Red Bull’s true pace the biggest mystery of testing?

I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom, but I hope more than anything that Red Bull aren’t as slow as the times indicate.

If they are and have fallen closer to the midfield than they are to the front-runners then this season’s going to be shockingly dull at the front – a straight fight between Mercedes and Ferrari some half a second quicker than anyone else. The midfield can close up and be random and exciting – which is good to see, but if the gap between midfield to front-runner has widened or stayed the same then the podium will be comprised of three of four drivers across just two teams.

Surely all the efforts to improve the cars capability of overtaking is irrelevant if the chasing cars are so far behind on outright performance?
Adam (@Rocketpanda)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 14 comments on “Ricciardo: Top teams still have a gap over the rest”

    1. @rocketpanda re:your cotd. A valid point. I too hope RBR is at least as fast, as a Max fan, but also for the same reasons you have spelled out.

      Of course everyone is waiting to see what Honda can bring in terms of the necessary combination of both being able to crank the Pu to racing levels with respectable power, along with the reliability to finish races at said level of crank. That’s the million dollar question.

      As someone choosing to look at the glass half full, I was impressed with the mileage both RBR and STR put on, with what appears to be respectable pace. I do wonder if RBR were shading their pace because of the days when an STR was faster than them, and one would think the RBR chassis would far exceed the capabilities of the STR one. Then there’s the Max factor.

      I’m hopeful, but I won’t at all be surprised if they can’t (at least initially) pick up where Max left off going back to last season’s post-summer break run. It’s just the beginning of their relationship at RBR, not Pu-wise of course because of 2018 STR, but in terms of a Newey car/Honda Pu marriage starting this year. It appears like they have at least started with something workable and with potential. There’s ‘just’ that million dollar question to be answered.

    2. Fear not, COTD man, @Rocketpanda Adam. If Helmut Marko is saying that with this year’s car Red Bull can win races and not only at RB-friendly tracks, then you can be sure that they will be there. That man knows what he’s talking about and he doesn’t waste time on bull.

      1. You forgot the /s 🤣

    3. Re cotd: It’s more or less been a straight fight between Mercedes and Ferrari the last couple years anyway. I’m predicting Red Bull to continue as they have been, a clear third picking up podiums or the odd win as the others falter and with Verstappen doing his thing. Nothing from testing has made me think they have fallen further behind because of the manufacturer change which is a good sign for them.

      After that it’s anyone’s guess as Ricciardo says, it’s going to be incredibly exciting in the mid-field. If it is dull at the front it won’t necessarily be a bad thing because it will mean more camera time on the battles behind. Hopefully we get to see some of that this year rather than the cameras and commentators focusing on gaps between the front runners getting smaller hoping for an overtake in the late stages that will never come.

      1. One of the other things I hope to see with the midfield gaining even a little ground on the lead pack is how that interferes with pit strategy for the leaders. The last few years they’ve extended their opening stints to ensure they’ve had a gap to drop back in to, and the number of laps it has taken to get the gap and come back out in front of the midfield has been depressingly few.

        If the gap to the midfield is less, and the midfield is crowded (and therefore the midfield will be running all sorts of strategies to get an advantage), it may well play havoc with the leaders strategy, and if a leader drops back in to the pack following a pit stop, they’re racing for position, so no blue flags.

        That has the potential to influence the podium and the minor placings.

        At least I can hope and dream for that.

    4. I was quite impressed with the RBR package these 8 (7) days. They did most of their laps on the harder compound and were close to Ferrari and Mercedes during the long stints.
      Also STR is much faster than I expected.

      I guess that RBR will be even closer than in 2018.
      They still might need some extra PU components, but otherwise will be close to the real action during much of the season.

    5. That Mario Andretti piece is a really good read. Re cotd: I wouldn’t worry about RBR too much. To me they looked really solid on the long runs & it’s only Gasly’s crashes that stopped them doing sprints. The engine looks reliable so far (hopefully they stay together & are competitive when turned up) & even if they’re not immediately at the front, they tend to have quite a high rate of development over a season.

      1. The andretti article is an absolute delight despite the American-centric view of the world. In fact, the way it’s written just reminds of what a rich and storied history US motorsport has. The insularity works both ways too with many European motorsports folk quite sniffy about Indy, for example.

        We should really celebrate the ‘crossover’ stars more e.g. Clark, Gurney, Hill, Andretti (obviously), Stewart to an extent, and then latterly Mansell (unparalleled achievement), Villeneuve, Montoya and even Franchitti. These guys are all legends for having done something culturally and sportingly extra. I hope Alonso can do the same.

      2. I found it interesting that brilliant as he was and WDC in F1 he only won 12 of 128 F1 races, I think that fact backs up my belief that F1 was more varied and interesting in that golden era.

    6. Regarding the COTD: I wouldn’t worry about RBR at all especially not based on the lap times as one should never read too much into them anyway when it comes to testing. I expect more or less the same as the last two seasons with RBR at the very least finishing a comfortable third in the WCC. I doubt they would’ve fallen closer to the midfield due to the change of PU supplier from Renault to Honda.

    7. Regarding the COTD, if rookie Albon can lap a 1.16.8 in the Torro Rosso, than RBR should be quite a bit faster in qualy trim. They couldn’t do the low fuel runs and C5 tires on Friday when almost all teams posted their best times, due to Gasly’s crash, so I wouldn’t read too much into their time just yet.

      My guess is that by the midpoint of the season we’ll see RBR fight for wins consistently, just like they did last year. Which is not really an improvement over their collaboration with Renault, but for the first year with Honda should be OK. Their focus is on the long game, most likely.

    8. I never expect much from any team that has just changed it’s engine supplier.
      Red Bull have a bit of an advantage having run Hondas in the Torro Rosso cars but I still won’t be surprised if they have a mediocre 2019.
      Obviously I hope I am 100% wrong and that they give Merc and Ferrari a serious challenge from race one but if they don’t I wont be overly worried for the future.

    9. Thanks Keith. However, that’s an alias I don’t use anymore. Oh well. Thanks anyway.

    10. So, RBR still being up there is now the proof that Honda wasn’t that bad, but McLaren’s car was at fault too for their weak-mediocre performances, especially after their 1st year together. Just as I said: most likely, all these years, McLaren’s chassis wasn’t a top chassis.

    Comments are closed.