Ricciardo ready for some ‘fun’ from P20

Daniel Ricciardo is excited about weaving his way through the field as he is set to start last at the German Grand Prix.

The Aussie knew in advance of the weekend action at the Hockenheimring that he would be racking up the engine penalties to give a clean slate for the next race in Hungary.

As a result, Ricciardo only had a brief outing in Q1 before calling it a day and preparing the car for Sunday’s race.

Falling from at least the third row to the back of the grid would leave any driver down in the dumps, but not Ricciardo, who cannot wait to see what he can achieve.

“I’ve had time to digest the penalty,” Ricciardo said in the paddock.

“I was prepared for it. I’m now just thinking about the excitement I will have starting from the back. That will be fun.

“I would rather start from the front of course, but there is still some fun to be had for sure.”

Red Bull have been a little more competitive than expected in Germany, and Ricciardo is encouraged by the long-run data.

“The long runs look pretty good so we will see,” Ricciardo added.

“It looks like Lewis [Hamilton] and myself will be starting from the back so it’ll be fun, see who gets to the front quickest.”

Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen, meanwhile, will line up from P4.

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Verstappen: P4 was ‘the best we could do’

After some high-profile exits in qualifying, Max Verstappen said that P4 was as good as Red Bull could expect given their power deficit.

Both Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo dropped out of Q2, making it a four-way scrap for pole position at the Hockenheimring.

However, with the power deficiencies of the Renault engine, Verstappen could only manage P4, six-tenths behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.

“You have to be realistic, and when you are lacking so much horsepower, it is not going to solve itself. So fourth was the best we could do,” Verstappen said.

“The car is quick and we are starting fourth, so hopefully we can be a bit closer to what we were in qualifying, and I am quite confident we can be.”

The Red Bull team had opted to go for the soft tyre in Q2 with Verstappen, in an attempt to do something different for the race on Sunday.

However, with the red flag, brought about by Marcus Ericsson’s spin, the Dutchman went out on the ultrasofts to ensure his place in the final part of qualifying.

“Because of the red flag I had to abort, and then we didn’t want to risk and maybe lose out in Q3,” he explained.

“Looking back at it, we could have qualified on the softs with everyone on ultras. I think also in terms of performance it will be better to be on an ultra [soft].”

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Verstappen: Car ‘fine’ after small oil leak

Max Verstappen believes everything is “fine” at Red Bull after a small oil leak was discovered in FP2 ahead of the German Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was quickest of everyone in the second practice session, but it was far from plain-sailing as he was restricted to 18 laps on Friday afternoon.

Verstappen was forced back into the garage and missed the opportunity to run a race simulation after Red Bull spotted a small oil leak following a rather unhealthy noise coming from the RB14.

Many thought it was session over for Verstappen, but he was able to make a brief re-appearance with five minutes left on the FP2 clock.

“We found out we had a little oil leak,” Verstappen revealed back in the paddock. “So we had to repair it.

“That is why we went out at the end again to check everything was fine.”

Asked whether Ferrari and Mercedes will take a further step forward on Saturday, he replied: “Should be. That is the case normally.

“But we can still improve. My [qualy sim] lap was compromised because of traffic, so I hope on Saturday we can be close and who knows with the weather, let’s see what will happen.”

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished down in P13 during FP2 and is due to start from the back of Sunday’s grid after taking on fresh engine parts.

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Red Bull expect quick resolution to Ricciardo deal

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has said he expects Daniel Ricciardo to re-sign “pretty quickly” now Mercedes door has closed on him.

The Aussie is a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and was hoping to catch the eye of Mercedes or Ferrari during his contract negotiations.

But the Silver Arrows will be continuing with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for the 2019 campaign and Charles Leclerc appears to be the only option for Ferrari should they part ways with Kimi Raikkonen.

With Ricciardo’s potential options drying up, Horner thinks a quick annoucement will be made with Ricciardo staying alongside Max Verstappen.

“I think now that Lewis Hamilton’s announcement has been made you’ll see everything run pretty quickly,” Horner told Autosport.

“We’re aiming to have things finalised by the summer break. It will be good to go into the break with everything sorted.

“No, no. We’ve got two great drivers, and they both contribute exceptionally well to the team.

“We’re very keen to retain the same line-up for the future.”

Read more: Confirmed deals for the 2019 season

Ricciardo topped the FP1 timesheet, but fell to P13 in FP2 after failing to complete a qualifying simulation run.

All hope of a race victory appears to be out of the window, with Ricciardo taking a raft of engine penalties ahead of the German Grand Prix on Sunday.

“I think when you know it [the engine penalties] in advance it is more frustrating than finding out, say like, the day before,” Ricciardo said back in the paddock.

“I could prepare myself a bit more [on Friday] and I’m pretty excited about coming through the back and having a bit of fun, so I’ll find the right perspective for it all.

“The race runs looked pretty decent and the car seems strong so we’ll see how we get on in qualifying.

“Not sure how much we will run [give the impending penalties] but we will give ourselves a good base.”

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FP2: Red Bull remain on top in Germany

Max Verstappen topped the timesheet in a less than straightforward FP2 session at the Hockenheimring in Germany.

The Dutchman set a 1:13.085 on the ultrasoft tyres during the qualifying simulation programmes but his afternoon was affected by a problem discovered on his car which prevented him completing a full race sim.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, fresh from committing their futures to Mercedes, completed the top three in close quarters, while just three tenths separated the top six with Ferrari also showing good pace.

Both Haas cars were firmly inside the top 10; Charles Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon followed next.

Daniel Ricciardo fell to P13 after not completing a qualifying sim, while the McLaren cars could only manage P17 and P20 after completing theirs.

The opening stints in FP2 saw a slight variation between the top three; Vettel and Raikkonen, both on mediums, were within half a second of Red Bull and Mercedes as they  gathered more data on the softs.

Half an hour into the session, Verstappen was leading the way with a 1:13.356, three tenths quicker than Bottas and Hamilton in the Silver Arrows.

Vettel was the first to re-emerge from the garage with the quickest ultrasoft tyres bolted on and quickly dislodged Verstappen at the top – but only by 0.046 seconds initially.

That lead did not last very long once Mercedes got stuck into their qualifying simulation programmes as Hamilton and Bottas both set new track records. Hamilton’s 1:13:111 became the new benchmark.

There was time for a twist, though, as Verstappen re-took the lead once again. He shaved 0.026 seconds off Hamilton’s best before attention turned to race simulations.

Ricciardo, though, was a little out of sync compared to the rest as he did not complete his one-lap simulation runs and started to drop down the leaderboard as a result.

His afternoon then almost came to an abrupt end after being squeezed out by the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin at the hairpin.

However, his team-mate Verstappen would suffer a disruption to his day with some strange noises emanating from his car. Some said engine, some said gearbox – but it was not serious enough to rule him out the session entirely as he re-appeared for a final stint with five minutes left on the clock.

Sirotkin came close to being sidelined as he locked up the front left heading into the stadium section. The gravel trap saving him from a shunt into the wall.

But that would prove to be the last dramatic moment with the leaderboard finely poised heading into qualifying on Saturday.

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FP2 timesheet:

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:13.085 18 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.026s 39 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.105s 39 laps
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.225s 46 laps
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.342s 41 laps
6 Romain Grosjean Haas 0.888s 34 laps
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.104s 36 laps
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1.289s 41 laps
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.411s 31 laps
10 Esteban Ocon Force India 1.423s 39 laps
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1.467s 38 laps
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.507s 43 laps
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.597s 36 laps
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1.698s 38 laps
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.708s 44 laps
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1.745s 45 laps
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1.751s 38 laps
18 Lance Stroll Williams 2.184s 36 laps
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 2.323s 41 laps
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 2.369s 34 laps

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Ricciardo set for penalties after taking engine parts

Daniel Ricciardo is set to start the German Grand Prix from the back of the grid after the FIA confirmed he has taken new engine parts.

The Red Bull driver arrived at the Hockenheimring stating that he expects to take new parts as Red Bull feel this track is one where he can overtake.

As such the FIA confirmed on Friday that Ricciardo has a new MGU-K, energy store and control electronics.

That brings his penalty tally up to 20.

Red Bull have yet to decide whether the Aussie will also take a new power unit, MGU-H or turbo, all of which are on the bubble for penalties.

Meanwhile both Ferraris are running new MGU-Ks and ERS, moving them onto their second for both elements.

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Horner: Honda ‘within one per cent’ of Renault

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has given another vote of confidence to Honda, saying their 2018 results would have been the same with the Japanese manufacturer.

The debate continues as to whether Red Bull have made the right choice in ditching current engine supplier Renault in favour of Honda, but Horner has insisted that they would have still won three grands prix this season regardless of who was powering them.

“We’d have still won the grands prix we won,” Horner said via Autosport.

“Honda are within one per cent of our measurement of where we currently are.

“There’s still a significant chunk to get to Ferrari and Mercedes.

“But having the full focus of an OEM like Honda behind us, combined with the fact that with Renault we were becoming more and more the customer as inevitably their focus becomes more centred on their own team, it was absolutely the right timing to go this different path.”

Horner also feels Red Bull will be able to get more of a head-start on the 2019 season with a more efficient process of implementing the new engine.

“With where we currently are with Renault, the positioning of any box, any juncture, on the engine, is dictated by their own works team,” Horner added.

“We have to accommodate whatever Renault Enstone want to adopt. Sometimes we have to make compromises to accommodate that.

“With Honda, we will have the ability to have the discussions in advance to try to optimise the integration between engine and chassis.

“They are earlier on the curve and they have the resource and the capacity. One of the biggest issues that probably Renault have struggled with is probably the financial commitment to the R&D process.

Mercedes have spent a lot of money, and invested heavily, as have Ferrari.

“These power units are extremely complex and you can see now that there are still incremental gains being made with the introduction of each power unit.”

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