RACE DEBRIEF

    Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t hide his excitement ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday as he predicted that the race would be a two-stop affair, after Friday's practice sessions in the Kingdom.

    The Renault driver, who finished fifth fastest behind Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in FP2 under the floodlights, said that long runs indicated that drivers would have to stop twice in the race – opening up a number of strategic possibilities for Sunday. Is he excited?

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    “I am, definitely,” Ricciardo replied. “In the morning we were steady but the evening we picked it up and [made] a few changes for FP2 and yeah, the car felt good. I think one lap pace was decent; long runs, I think it’s going to be a two-stop, quite clearly, here.

    “We haven’t had one of those in a while in a dry race, so that should create a bit more of variation on Sunday.”

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    A busy brace of Friday sessions saw a huge crash for Alex Albon, and the sight of a dog running across the track – which caught the Ricciardo’s eye and brought out a second red flag.

    “I saw it and then there was a red flag and I questioned if that was for the red flag,” he said. “It looked quite cute. Luckily it didn’t get too close to me!

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    “I saw it in the distance. Maybe it was 50 metres away from me. It was far enough – I tried not to scare it off. It wasn’t having any business on the track!” he joked.

    The McLaren-bound Australian has three races to round out his time at Renault and an important job to do, with the Enstone squad 18 points behind Racing Point in the fight for P3. Ricciardo is also gunning for fourth in the drivers’ standings, and is currently just four points off Perez.