Ricciardo: Red Bull still face battle to beat Mercedes

Despite setting the pace on Friday in Mexico, Daniel Ricciardo says there is still more work to be done if Red Bull are to beat Mercedes in qualifying.

Ricciardo topped the timesheets on Friday afternoon with a 1:17.801, which put him 0.131s up on Lewis Hamilton, while Max Verstappen was a further 0.032s down.

It was a closely contested session with the top six separated by half a second, while the top nine were all within a second.

“It’s always nice when you top a session, always feels good,” Ricciardo said.

“We’ve been chipping away at it.

“Timing aside we’ve made some progress, still a bit more, on the long runs we could find a bit of pace.

“But on low fuel we are more or less there.

“We know Mercedes always have more on Saturdays so we still have to find a few tenths if we want to stay ahead of them but not a bad Friday.”

He added: “We can still be a bit better from what I feel with set-up.

“So far it looks okay.

“I think it is going to be as always pretty close.”

Aside from his pace-setting there was also other good news for Ricciardo who thought he would have to take an engine penalty this weekend after his United States DNF.

That failure has been put down to a lack of oil with the engine back up and running this weekend.

Asked if he expects to receive another engine, and the penalty that comes with it, before Sunday’s race, he replied: “Unless something goes wrong.

“If she keeps ticking over we’re keeping her in.”

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