With just 14 days to go until gates open at the Formula 1® 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo and his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB14 have set a new record around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya overnight with a blistering lap of 1:18.047 during the second pre-season test.
Returning to the cockpit for a marathon outing where the Australian completed a total of 164 laps, the most of any driver on the day, Ricciardo finished top of the timesheets and is looking in his best position this early in the season since he made his Formula 1® debut in 2011.
“I would have liked to get into the 17s, but we’ll save that for the racing. In terms of the shape we’re in, I think we’re getting there, we’re in a decent place. It was a good day today. I survived!” said Ricciardo, who was scheduled to drive yesterday but was forced to sit out the session due a mild illness.
“Today’s was an optimistic run plan and I didn’t think we’d get that much done but we got through all of it, so that was good. I think I’ll sleep well tonight! It was a good bunch of laps today and I got a few quick ones in there, which was nice.
“The hypersoft tyre helped, of course, but we made some changes early this morning and after some medium runs then we went to the softer tyres and the changes we made seemed to help the car, so there was just a bit more confidence and the track was a good temperature today so we could start to get some real testing in.”
Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin, added: “I think the hardest part of today was for Daniel, who wasn’t well yesterday. These are fit guys, but when you’re not in top form to be asked to get through the workload he did today and lap in the 1m18s is pretty impressive, so hats off to him.”
Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, said the result – Ricciardo’s second top finish during the test period so far – was a fantastic sign of where the Australian is at coming into his home event.
“We would love nothing more than to see Daniel stand on the top step of the podium on 25 March and see results like these – it gives both he and the team a great confidence boost coming into the Formula 1® 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix,” Westacott said.
“There are just 14 days to go until the Formula 1® 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix and the whole team here at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation is working incredibly hard to deliver a sensational event.
“Fans can expect more on-track action than any Formula 1® event in the world, an entertaining off-track line-up and more for all ages than ever before.”