RACE DEBRIEF

    Daniel Ricciardo looked back to his old swashbuckling self after claiming P2 in Free Practice 2 at the Styrian Grand Prix weekend – with the McLaren driver jokingly crediting a schnitzel-based diet for his impressive Friday afternoon performance…

    After only managing P12 in Free Practice 1, Ricciardo’s qualifying simulation lap in FP2 was good enough to put him P2, 0.336s behind session leader Max Verstappen, in what was Ricciardo’s best practice performance of the year after a season that’s seen the Australian struggle to get on top of his new McLaren MCL35M.

    FP2: Verstappen quickest again in second practice at the Red Bull Ring, ahead of Ricciardo and Ocon

    “Definitely!” said Ricciardo, when asked if he was encouraged by his Friday pace in Austria. “It feels alright… I know it's only Friday but for sure, I'd rather be in the top three than 10th saying we've got a lot of work to do tonight. So I think we do a bit of fine-tuning, but we're certainly not lost. Far from lost actually, so I think we're in a good place.

    “Obviously low fuel pace was good this afternoon,” he added. “I think we definitely picked something up from the morning. The high fuel, probably a little more to find relative to low fuel but definitely a productive afternoon.”

    Daniel Ricciardo 'in a good place' after P2 finish in Styria second practice

    Going on to reveal the secret of his impressive pace on Friday, Ricciardo said: “I had three schnitzels last night [the traditional Austrian dish of breaded meat] but they were like baby schnitzels so it was like one serve, but I think I've earned one more tonight.

    “Austria's like a real schnitzel theme, and then when we go to Monza it's always pizza. I'm not saying it’s the diet I would condone to young and aspiring athletes out there, but for me it seems to be working and I get a lot of joy and happiness from this type of cuisine, so if that gives me an extra tenth in the car, just through sheer pleasure, then so be it!”

    READ MORE: ‘Lewis was faster’ – Verstappen predicting tough battle despite topping both Friday sessions

    Schnitzels were not on the mind of team mate Lando Norris, meanwhile, who wound up in P7 in FP2, 0.246s adrift of his team mate – but with the Briton, who finish P3 and P5 for McLaren in the pair of Austrian races last year, saying he’d been encouraged by his own performance.

    “A decent day,” said Norris. “We made some good progress throughout the day from P1 to P2 and I felt a little bit more comfortable. Still got a little bit more to find but I think we’re in a good spot, with a good car going into tomorrow, a decent car in the race and qualifying.

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    Norris brushed off his slew of track limit infringements

    “Obviously qualifying’s been our weak spot so far this year,” he added, “so trying to make sure we have a good day tomorrow which sets us up well for the race. But it’s still a very raceable track, so even if it doesn’t go our way, we’re still ready for the race.”

    WATCH: Bizarre moment in Styrian GP practice as Bottas spins in the pit lane

    Meanwhile, Norris brushed off having a full four laps deleted in FP2 for track limit infringements at Turns 9 and 10, saying: “As long as I'm good on Sunday, and tomorrow to be honest, then it's all fine. I'm just exploring the limits, finding the limits and I'll be fine tomorrow.”