Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull face an uphill battle this weekend as their RB10 is “further off” the pace than they had expected.
Neither Ricciardo nor Sebastian Vettel shone in Friday’s second practice at the Sochi Autodrom.
While Vettel’s best put him seventh, Ricciardo could only manage 13th place as the Aussie, who is third in the Championship, was almost 2.5s slower than the pace-setting Lewis Hamilton.
Added to that, he also missed the final few minutes of FP2 when his Renault engine gave up resulting in a red flag situation.
“We are definitely further off than we expected,” said Ricciardo.
“A win today is out of the question but I think it’s probably going to be a bit like Monza – at this stage damage limitation and aiming for a top five.
“I think we are lacking in both areas to be honest [top speed and grip].
“We didn’t find a real answer. We have a bit of work ahead of us.”
Ricciardo revealed that the main job Red Bull will focus on overnight is improving their race-pace was he doesn’t believe they will be able to challenge Mercedes come Saturday’s qualifying.
“We have to try to dial it in. We are a little bit in limbo at the moment,” he told Autosport.
“We have to try to hunt for some straightline speed so we can attack in the race, because it doesn’t look like we will be on pole – we have to set up for Sunday.”
As for his engine failure, he says it was “not a concern” as the engine as at “the end of its mileage.”