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Ricciardo: 'We're getting there, we're in a decent place'

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB14 practices a pit stop.
© XPB 

Daniel Ricciardo admitted that Red Bull had come into Wednesday's pre-season test session with an "optimistic" program of work and high expectations.

By the time the chequered flag came out, the team had achieved everything on its wish list - and then some.

Ricciardo completed 165 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. His best time of 1:18.047s was the fastest that anyone has ever gone on the track since it was reconfigured in 2007.

"It was a good day today," beamed Ricciardo. "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!

"I think I’ll sleep well tonight," he added of his exertions, which came a day after he was forced to sit out Tuesday's scheduled outing in the car due to a mild illness.

There were no such sickness problems for the Australian today. He had nothing but good things to say about his time in the RB14.

"It was a good bunch of laps today. I got a few quick ones in there, which was nice," he said. It was the first time that he'd had a proper chance to try out Pirelli's new softest tyre compound.

"The hypersoft tyre helped of course," he said. "But we made some changes early this morning.

"After some medium runs then we went to the softer tyres and the changes we made seemed to help the car," he continued. "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.

"It was okay," he said modestly. "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."

Red Bull's Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin, was equally delighted by the trouble-free running.

"On most days at testing you draw up your run plan, with every minute of the day accounted for," he said. "And within an hour you’ve torn that up and started to move things around.

"Today wasn’t like that, and we managed to get through every item on the agenda.

"We focused largely on working as if at a Grand Prix weekend," he continued. "We tried a variety of tyre compounds, we did long runs on high fuel and then a full race simulation, including pit stops and everything.

"I think the hardest part of today was for Daniel, who wasn’t well yesterday," he noted. "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 1:18s is pretty impressive, so hats off to him.

"In all, it was a very good day for us today," Rocquelin added. "We’ll do the same programme with Max tomorrow and hopefully we’ll maintain the level of reliability we showed today."

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