Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

Ricciardo doubts Red Bull can rival Mercedes and Ferrari despite quick Bahrain lap

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Friday’s practice times in Bahrain gave Red Bull some cause for optimism. Daniel Ricciardo did the third-quickest lap, within a tenth of a second of both Sebastian Vettel’s pace-setting Ferrari and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

But temperatures at the track were so high on Friday the lap times probably bore little relation to what we can expect to see over the rest of the weekend.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix practice in pictures
“This is a pretty tough circuit at the best of times,” said Mercedes’ technical director James Allison. “But it is unseasonably hot this year, which made it a brutal day for the cars and the drivers.” Saturday is expected to be almost as warm but the race, crucially, is forecast to be cooler.

Ricciardo admitted his car’s one-lap pace in the low-grip conditions on Friday “looks competitive – but probably too competitive for now.”

“I do like it but I expect Ferrari and Mercedes to sneak further ahead [on Saturday]” he added.

As well as the heat, the track was especially ‘green’ and grip-less on Friday. This goes some way towards explaining why this year’s cars, which were 3.7 seconds quicker than their 2016 pace in China, were a few tenths slower than last year’s Friday pace.

Ferrari and Mercedes looked close again over their longer stints, with Ferrari coming on stronger towards the end, as was the pattern in the last two races. Ricciardo admitted that in “the long runs [they] looked like they had a bit more pace so that was probably a bit more representative” than the single-lap pace.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

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Complete practice times

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Sebastian VettelFerrari1’32.6971’31.31050
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’35.0021’31.35162
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.0971’31.37650
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’42.3331’31.47840
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.6361’31.59463
6Nico HulkenbergRenault1’34.9271’31.88350
7Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’34.2461’32.07961
8Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.5661’32.24541
9Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’34.5641’32.50555
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’34.8381’32.70748
11Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.5791’32.85454
12Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’34.3321’32.87561
13Jolyon PalmerRenault1’35.0681’32.87657
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’34.3721’32.89745
15Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’34.0951’33.31956
16Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’34.3221’33.36161
17Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’35.8881’33.94457
18Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’36.0791’34.07221
19Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’35.9591’34.11752
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’34.9971’34.23018

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Ricciardo doubts Red Bull can rival Mercedes and Ferrari despite quick Bahrain lap”

  1. i think redbulls are still half a second down on the ferrari who are still 2 tenths down on Mercedes.

  2. RIC is probably right, but Merc are looking confused in conditions that are challenging to their package. While Ferrari aren’t bulletproof, they look more composed than Merc. Ferrari to win courtesy of a longer first stint. HAM looks and sounds panicky, so I figure BOT will beat him both in quali and race.

    1. “HAM looks and sounds panicky, so I figure BOT will beat him both in quali and race”

      Can you provide some evidence to this claim? I’m interested to know how you came to that conclusion.

  3. How much racing will there be on the track before today’s qualifying? Is there any chance of the top qualifying times being faster than last year?

    1. @okersen ”Is there any chance of the top qualifying times being faster than last year?”
      – This year’s pole lap will without a doubt be faster than last year’s. The real question is how big the difference to the previous year’s pole time will be.

  4. Mercedes still has the advantage on Qualifying, and Bottas was only 1/1000th of a second slower than Vettel, and Vettel thought he was almost sure he had pole in China with that lap.

    1. When did he ever say he was sure he had pole? He said he made a mistake under braking into the hairpin, but then said if he didn’t make it he still wouldn’t have had pole, so I don’t know where you got that idea.

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