Ricciardo impressed by Mercedes pace on harder tyre

Based on Mercedes’ performance in free practice Friday in Montreal, the Silver Arrows squad wil be “hard to beat” on Sunday reckons Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull topped both practice sessions yesterday, courtesy of Max Verstappen. The 90-minute afternoon run saw Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas clock in fourth and sixth respectively, with the former conceding 0.579s to Verstappen.

But Ricciardo points to the fact that neither Mercedes driver used Pirelli’s faster hypersoft tyre, the team electing to run on the harder compound instead because it has selected fewer sets of the pink-rimmed rubber than its rivals for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

“I would say that Mercedes’ pace was really fast today,” Ricciardo said.

“Even on the harder tyre, they were still doing pretty good lap times.

    Verstappen stays on top ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo

“I think they’ll be at this stage hard to beat, but I think we can still improve the car a lot, do more laps, learn a bit more and I think we’ll be okay.

“I guess the fight will be with Ferrari, too early to really know, but I’m sure Mercedes will be really fast tomorrow afternoon.”

Ricciardo was down on his team mate by 0.405s in FP2, a session in which the Aussie’s running was limited by electrical problems linked to the configuration of Renault’s new-spec power unit.

“We had what looked like an electrical problem. We had some problems this morning, they tried to fix it during lunch, but it didn’t improve, so yeah, we had to try and fix that,” he said.

“We have the B-spec engine this weekend, the upgrade, and I think just configurating a few things on that, we’re not necessarily aligned, so we just had to go through a little bit of trial and error.

“A little bit obviously frustrating not to get many laps, but the problem doesn’t seem dramatic.”

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