Daniel Ricciardo finds Red Bull pace 'encouraging' yet 'frustrating' at Bahrain GP

Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Australian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Australian Grand Prix

Yesterday our race pace didn't look bad but I think our vehicle in second practice, where we did the race runs, wasn't as good as it was in practice one or that it is now.

The rest of the session passed without major incident, with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas second quickest and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari third.

The Australian clocked 1 minute, 31.06 seconds on the 5.4km desert circuit.

The Australian's lap put him fifth on the grid but, after applying Lewis Hamilton's grid penalty, he'll move up to the second row.

"We changed a few things this evening and it didn't work as we expected, but the morning was better for us".

But Verstappen's chances were shattered in the first qualifying session as he crashed into the barriers after losing the rear end of his auto at turn two.

"The auto feels OK, but we still need to find some pace, especially for a single lap", Bottas said.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo led the timesheets during Friday's first practice session for the 2018 Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. With such fine margins, any one of the three teams could prove to be quickest during Sunday's race. The defending F1 champion had a tricky first session, locking his tires and twice taking his Mercedes too wide on corners.

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Vettel snatched an opportunistic win from Hamilton in Formula One's season opener in Australia two weeks ago, taking advantage of a timely virtual safety vehicle to pit and stay ahead of the Briton who had led from pole.

The Dutchman got out and helped marshals push the auto back to the pitlane.

While on Thursday Hamilton turned up at the circuit in shorts, t-shirt and cap with a relaxed smile, this time the British driver was wearing Mercedes team gear and a much more serious expression.

Verstappen headed into the qualifying session with the hope he could get his vehicle high up on the grid for tomorrow's race.

Aiding Hamilton and Verstappen's hopes of climbing through the field is the pace advantage over the midfield runners, with Toro Rosso and McLaren calculated as having the next best race performance.

"I learned the data immediately once I arrived on the scene of this vehicle as for me it had been also a significant surprise", Verstappen informed reporters.

Hamilton blitzed the competition in Melbourne qualifying, but a team strategy error saw him beaten in the race by main title rival Sebastian Vettel.

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