Red Bull pushing to be closest Mercedes challenger at Hungarian GP

Daniel Ricciardo feels Red Bull is in with a strong possibility of finishing as the best of the rest behind Mercedes in Formula 1 qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix

Red Bull pushing to be closest Mercedes challenger at Hungarian GP

Around the twisty Hungaroring far more suited to the RB11, Ricciardo and team-mate Daniil Kvyat managed to split Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets in Friday practice.

Kvyat finished 0.351 seconds behind Hamilton's best lap of 1m23.949s, with Ricciardo half a second down, while Rosberg was a further two tenths of a second further adrift.

Whether Red Bull can maintain such form over one lap remains to be seen, but Ricciardo was smiling more than usual, even though FP2 was interrupted by a blown Renault engine, albeit an old one without danger of another penalty.

"It was one of our better Fridays. We're looking more competitive," said Ricciardo, who finished almost seven tenths clear of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"We've a few updates, and the circuit is one that suits our car, more than the others we've been to this year.

"To have good pace in both sessions, with both cars, is good. On low fuel we're more or less there, and with high fuel it's also looking good.

"The long run looked good before the failure, and my engineer told me we were quickest on track with the soft tyre.

"I didn't expect us to be this close to Mercedes, but let's see what happens in qualifying tomorrow. Maybe they had a bit more fuel and they will turn it up.

"I just hope we stay where we are. I expect Rosberg to get back in front of us, but if we can be the second best team then that would be a really good day.

"I'm sure we're not half a second in front of Ferrari, but even tomorrow if we're a tenth in front then I'll take that.

"The improvements are positive, but now we have to carry it into tomorrow. I'm trying not to get too excited, but today was a good one for us."

Asked by AUTOSPORT as to what has changed on the car and the feeling he is now getting, Ricciardo replied: "I just feel the balance was a bit more together.

"I guess it was just an easier car to drive. We had small things here and there, a bit more front wing, or a bit less, but we didn't change the car much.

"When we rolled the car out this morning it seemed like we were a bit more in the ballpark. It felt good to be able to lean on the car a little bit."

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