Formula 1 | Daniel Ricciardo fourth on the first day of testing: “We are surprised”

There could hardly have been a better first day of Formula 1 testing in Bahrain for the Red Bull brand. While Max Verstappen at the front was able to gain over a second ahead of his closest pursuer, McLaren driver Lando Norris, the newly formed Racing Bulls team also made a strong first impression.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth (+1.255) and was one of five drivers who were able to beat Verstappen’s best time on the first day from last year. With an improvement of 1.3 seconds, the Italian team also made the second biggest jump compared to last year, which puts them behind sister team Red Bull, who found 1.5 seconds.

According to Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko, the Racing Bulls’ debut went better than expected: “We are surprised,” he says. “I mean, to be fair, McLaren and Ferrari didn’t go out on track later in the evening when the temperatures dropped dramatically. So they would be closer, but it still looks like they are [Racing Bulls] in the top 10.”

When asked whether things went better than expected for both Red Bull teams, the Austrian replied: “I would say that [Racing Bulls] performed better than we expected. But we were sure that we [Red Bull Racing]”If the concept works, we will be very competitive.”

Ricciardo curbs euphoria: VCARB 01 is just a further development from Abu Dhabi

Although the result and lap time look very impressive for the team from Faenza, both drivers emphasize that it is just an evolution of the AlphaTauris from Abu Dhabi three months ago.

“Honestly, it’s a continuation of last year,” says Ricciardo about the first feeling in the new car. “Of course it looks completely different from the outside, but inside the car it really is a further development from Abu Dhabi. We had brought an update for this race. And now it’s really just a continuation of that.”

“Of course there is a new chassis and everything else, but let’s say the philosophy is still a continuation of that. But yes, the car felt quite comfortable in a positive sense because it was similar to last year. But with Looking at the big car, the Red Bull, there is still some time to find.”

“There are definitely still some cars that are faster”

That’s why the Australian doesn’t want to be too blinded by the result: “I’m not sure if we’ll start the season there. But I think the car felt pretty good in Abu Dhabi with a few updates. We “Of course we made a few changes at the start of the season, but it’s clear that we still have a lot of lap times to find.”

“I know it’s only the first day. But there are definitely still some cars that are faster than us, not just the Red Bull, but I think there are a few others. So there’s still a lot to find, but the general feel and balance is actually quite okay.”

Tsunoda: Team still needs to develop over the course of the year

His Racing Bulls teammate Yuki Tsunoda (+2.792), who was behind the wheel of the VCARB 01 in the morning, has a very similar assessment of the test opener in Bahrain: “For us the difference isn’t that big. I mean, we have it Upgrades installed in the last race of 2023, many other teams didn’t do that.”

“Also, we have built a new team, we have strengthened our team, new people, so it will take time to develop in general, also in terms of performance. So I hope it will get better as the year goes on. But it looks good. But with the tests it’s hard to tell.”

When asked which other teams impressed him, the Japanese said: “Apart from Red Bull, Aston seems to be OK, Ferrari too. I don’t know how good McLaren is. But when I look around the midfield, that’s what I get “That Williams is hiding there a little bit, to be honest.”

“But apart from that, we haven’t been badly placed in the battle for the midfield so far. So hopefully we can continue like that and be in the front midfield in the first race. I think that would be a really good start for our expectations.”