BUDAPEST: Daniel Ricciardo hopes his Red Bull team’s big improvement in practice for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix becomes a consistent factor in the second half of the season.
After a year of disappointments, the smiling Australian wound up third in Friday’s second practice (Saturday in Manila) behind his teammate Daniil Kvyat and pace-setting world championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Unfortunately, Ricciardo also suffered another Renault engine failure later in the session after clocking his best time.
“It was a good day,” he beamed. “It was one of our better Fridays. We are looking more competitive and, generally, I think it was a good day for both cars in the team.
“I hope we can stay where we are. I expect [Nico] Rosberg to be in front of us, but if we can be the second best team then it will be a really good day tomorrow [Saturday].
“For me, it would’ve been nice to finish the session. It was really good on high fuel and I was happy with the pace. We look to be right back on track.”
Ricciardo was running with an old power unit on Friday and will not suffer any penalty if he removes it and uses a new engine in qualifying on Saturday.
“We have a few updates here and we know this circuit suits our car more than most of the others.”
Ricciardo’s upbeat reaction came after he warned Red Bull on Thursday that he wanted to see an improvement in results to confirm his future with the team.
“A significantly better Renault, I would accept, but as we are now, I don’t think we could go with this performance again next year,” he told reporters.
“Other teams will keep improving so we need a significant gain. With the rest, we’ll see what happens. It’s in the hands of the team.
“I’m keeping my ears open for what’s happening, of what’s being discussed with the team, with Renault, with the team’s future.
“From what I understand, in the next two weeks there should be a bit more of a plan in place. We’ll see what happens after that.”