Ricciardo keen to capitalise on practice pace after 'unsurprising' second place in FP2
For the third FP2 session in a row, Daniel Ricciardo put his Renault right at the sharp end of the timesheet, finishing in second place in Belgium, just 0.048s behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen. But while the Australian said he was unsurprised by that performance, he says the focus is now on converting such strong practice pace into qualifying, having failed to do that previously.
"The lap today, I don’t know, I just felt like the car was really hooked up on that lap and I wasn’t surprised when… we were P2. I honestly thought it was top three or top four again," said Ricciardo after a successful day, having clinched that second place in FP2 and ninth in FP1.
"Sometimes you can kid yourself and you see the lap times and you’re like ‘oh yeah, car felt good’ when it wasn’t; it certainly did [feel good]," he added.
Ricciardo finished third and fourth in the previous two FP2 sessions at Silverstone and Barcelona but slipped to fifth and 13th respectively in qualifying for those races, finishing both Grands Prix outside the points. It’s a pattern he’s keen to correct in Spa.
"Today showed we’ve got pace,” Ricciardo said. “I’m not sure we can hold P2, but I think we’re still going to be in a good position tomorrow and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. We’ll focus on that, take positives from today but we’ll make sure we get Q3 right tomorrow."
The only slight fly in the ointment for Ricciardo on an otherwise positive day was his car grinding to a halt late in FP2.
"We had an issue at the end and I think [it was] neither here nor there, just a bit of safety for today,” explained the Australian. “We missed a bit of long run but we got some done this morning so all in all, a pretty good day.
"It was [a hydraulics issue]," he confirmed, "and obviously on a Friday, as soon as you get a sign or a warning you’re like ‘yeah let’s pack it up’."
With three podiums in Belgium including a win for Red Bull in 2014, Ricciardo has history of success at the iconic circuit – but will be hoping for much more on Sunday than his P14 finish here in 2019 with Renault.