Ricciardo: Mercedes will be hard to beat


While Lewis Hamilton was second quickest in the morning, just 0.088s off Max Verstappen's pace, and fourth in the afternoon, 0.579s of the Dutchman's best, the fact is that in neither session did the Briton or his teammate run the hypersoft tyres, unlike their rivals.

Shunning the pink-banded rubber as though it were Kryptonite, the Mercedes duo have brought only five sets to Montreal while their rivals have brought as many as eight.

However, even though running the 'old' engine, Daniel Ricciardo believes that once the engine modes come into play the Mercedes duo will be the pace-setters when it matters.

"I would say that Mercedes' pace was really fast today, even on the harder tyre, they were still doing pretty good lap times," he told reporters.

"I think they'll be at this stage hard to beat," he admitted, "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."

While an issue during the second session was initially thought to be MGU-K related, many still fearing that the Australian is on the verge of a grid penalty following the Monaco failure, it turned out to be an electrical issue related to the Renault engine update.

"We had what looked like an electrical problem," he confirmed. "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.

"We have the B-spec engine this weekend, the upgrade, and I think just configuring 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."

Late in making his qualifying sims, the Australian was hampered by traffic but eventually managed to post a best time just 0.405s off his teammate's pace and good enough for third.

While Ricciardo is tipping Mercedes however, many still feel that Red Bull has the opportunity to pick up where it left off in Monaco.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Montreal, here.

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Published: 09/06/2018
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