Mercedes’ updated engine in France came as a surprise to Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian left impressed by the pace of Lewis Hamilton on Friday after the Red Bull driver finished a whopping 0.704s behind the Briton in FP2.
Hamilton endured disappointing races in Monaco and Canada but dominated both sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard after Mercedes fitted both their cars, plus customer teams Williams and Force India, with their second internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H of the season prior to FP1.
Having held off on bringing their upgrade to the last race in Montreal, the Silver Arrows remained quiet regarding the specification of their engines this weekend. But the news was soon confirmed after the day’s final session, and Ricciardo is wary of the threat they pose in the French Grand Prix on Sunday.
“I thought we were relatively fast, but then we saw the time of Lewis and the long runs were a bit more up and down. We have a bit of work to do tonight but it wasn't a bad Friday actually,” he said.
“The time to Lewis in this session (FP2) now was a bit too big, but actually our day was pretty productive. Obviously Lewis was pretty quick (so) that’s a bit of a shame, he obviously did a good lap.
“Hopefully they used it (the new engine) today. If they’re going to go quicker, then it looks like everyone is chasing them this weekend. I guess for them it’s working. I don’t know where Valtteri (Bottas) was but obviously Lewis’ time was pretty fast.”
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