Ricciardo says RB F1 “definitely have some work to do to establish ourselves at the front of the midfield” following pre-season testing in Bahrain

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Today saw the concluding session of pre-season testing for the 2024 Formula 1 season.

RB F1’s Daniel Ricciardo completed 209 laps throughout testing and referenced this morning’s issues with the drain cover.

“Yeah, there was that issue this morning on track, obviously with the drain,” Ricciardo noted, addressing the hiccup that briefly threatened to change the course of the team’s day.

Thankfully, the issue was resolved, enabling the team to get their race run in, leaving the honey badger on a high note for the first race of the season in Bahrain, “I got plenty of laps, I feel pretty good, I feel fit. I think we’re, in terms of performance, yeah, as expected, we’re trying to fight in that midfield group.

“I think there’s definitely some work to do to catch the front guys, but that’s no surprise.”

His attitude and words echoed those of a driver primed for the season and challenges ahead, claiming that overall, the sessions went smoothly, and better than initially expected.

“I don’t think we leave here with any concerns or scratching our heads, I think we know where we are, we just got to keep going from here.”

Inevitably, discussions veered towards RB’s status as the potential dark horse in the upcoming championship race. Ricciardo offered an incredibly tempered perspective, stating, “Fans got excited, I think they thought we were going to be a different version of another car from the past, but it’s not that.” 

His realistic answers served as a reminder that success in Formula One isn’t as simple as the performance from pre-season testing sessions, practice sessions, or even qualifying before a race.

Ricciardo claimed, “I think we’ve definitely developed the car from last year. It’s hard because we brought updates in Abu Dhabi, so we’re comparing it to a car that had fresh updates.”

“I think if we want to be sure of fighting for Q3s and top 10s, I think there’s certainly still going to be a bit more to find… I say that realistically, I don’t say it pessimistically, just realistically.”

Ted Kravitz spoke to Ricciardo, noting that the other drivers, including McLaren’s Lando Norris, and the other teams, appeared to be pessimistic when asked ‘Who will be on the podium this year?’, likely assuming that Verstappen and Red Bull Racing will dominate the season once again.

Joking, as per usual, Ricciardo alleged that “Lando needs a bit of a ray of positivity. He’s always negative, isn’t he? I’ve never seen him smile.”

Talking about his podium predictions, Ricciardo spoke with realism, noting that “Me kind of being a viewer, it looks like Red Bull and Ferrari would be the strong favourites to be on the podium here in a week… But anything can happen.”

“I know people are getting pretty excited about us, but I’m trying to just bring it back down. I think we’re, we’re probably where we expect it to be.”

“Obviously, we do want to get stronger as the year goes on and establish ourselves at the front of the midfield. But I think now we’ll hopefully be a Q3 and top 10 car, but to be much more than that, I think that’s probably getting too excited for us.”

His words resonate with the unpredictability that defines Formula One, where a team’s success can change in the blink of an eye, and the underdogs can defy all expectations.