Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo believes this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom will be a ‘damage limitation’ exercise for the Milton Keynes outfit.

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel finished in ninth place in the Friday afternoon session, over one-and-a-half seconds behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1W05; teammate a further Ricciardo was six-tenths of a second adrift in thirteenth position.

The Aussie’s afternoon was slightly cut short due to an engine problem, which put a brief halt on the heavy fuel runs by rival teams as the red flags were brought out to recover his stricken RB10. The incident was isolated to a Renaukt power unit failure, although the team confirmed that the power unit in question had run is full mileage and wouldn’t be used again.

“I’m not quite sure where to go but I think we need to hunt for some straight line speed so we can attack in the race, because it doesn’t look like we will be on pole,” explained Ricciardo on his return to the paddock.

>”We are definitely further off the pace than we expected. We tried a bit more downforce, we tried a bit less and we still didn’t find an answer, so we will have a look and see if there is anything else to adjust.

“I think it will be a bit like Monza, at this stage it is damage limitation and aiming for the top five.”

Vettel was blunter in his assessment of the team’s problems this weekend.

“It looks like we will struggle here; it’s a nice track, but maybe not made for us,” the German concluded.

Image via XPB Images

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8
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