Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo believes that the battle with Ferrari will be evenly matched this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Scuderia’s performance last round in Japan caught Red Bull by surprise as both Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen were out-qualified by the Ferrari drivers.

“Ferrari has been extremely fast lately,” Ricciardo said. “In Japan they did a very good job. Probably quicker than we expected. But is has been a bit like that.

“Some places we have been quicker where we did not expect. But then we’ve gone to places like Japan where we thought we would be quicker than them and we weren’t necessarily.”

Red Bull passed Ferrari in the constructors’ standings back in Germany, leapfrogging the Prancing Horse to go 14 points clear into the summer break.

The team has now extended their lead to a comfortable 50 points, however, remain cautious of Ferrari’s threat as recent form indicates it will be a close battle in the final four races of the season.

“It is still a bit confusing for everyone to know who has got the better package and what tracks suit who, but maybe they [Ferrari] just got it right that weekend and put it altogether,” the Australian continued.

“Seb still did not end up with a podium [in Japan]. I haven’t watched the complete race but it looked like he had a car for the podium, so they probably underachieved what the car was capable of. But nonetheless I expect them to be pretty quick here.

With certain sections of the Circuit of the Americas sharing similarities with Suzuka, Ricciardo is anticipating a close fight between the two constructors in Austin, as Red Bull look to extend their lead over Ferrari to secure second place in the constructors’ championship.

“The high-speed stuff in sector one is in a way similar to what we have in Suzuka Sector one, and they were pretty strong there, so we will have our work cut out. If both of our cars want to finish in front of them we will have to execute pretty well.”

Image via Red Bull Content Pool

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Josh Kruse

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