Renault F1 engine now a match for Ferrari - Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull's Renault Formula 1 engine is now on a par with Ferrari

Renault F1 engine now a match for Ferrari - Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull started the year trailing Mercedes and Ferrari, and Ricciardo feels the Renault power unit - rebadged as TAG Heuer over the winter - has made considerable strides to enable the team's already strong chassis to thrive.

"At the start of the year we went into Melbourne not really expecting much compared to the end of last year," said Ricciardo.

"But we came in with more horsepower, and then the update helped, and we've found a little bit more and a little bit more since then.

"It's been a nice refreshing improvement on both sides - the chassis is working well with the power unit.

"We're now pretty much on par with the '16 Ferrari [engine], and that's positive. They made a really big step last year.

BELGIAN GP QUALIFYING SPEED TRAP
Top speed by each engine manufacturer

Mercedes 319.8km/h
Ferrari 317.9km/h
Renault 316.4km/h
Ferrari (2015) 312.9km/h
Honda 309.7km/h

"We've overtaken the '15 Ferrari that Toro Rosso have, so it's good, it's going in the right direction and that's all we can ask for now.

"As long as we keep seeing improvements then we are going to take what we can."

In the last four races Red Bull has turned a 25-point deficit to Ferrari into a 22-point advantage in the constructors' championship, but Ricciardo expects the Prancing Horse to perform well on home soil at Monza this weekend.

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 455
2 Red Bull/Renault 274
3 Ferrari 252
4 Force India/Mercedes 103
5 Williams/Mercedes 101

"They should be the favourite to beat us at Monza," added Ricciardo.

"But if we can beat them at Monza then that would be quite a good one for us ahead of going to Singapore and Suzuka which, on paper, should favour us more.

"But I'm not going to count them out. Seb [Vettel] can turn it on pretty well, as can Kimi [Raikkonen] on his day.

"We're prepared to be in a fight with Mercedes, but we're also prepared that Ferrari might join in on the action as well."

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