DANIEL Ricciardo wasn’t fastest on the track but he was certainly quick with his tongue after practice for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull star was fifth fastest in the opening practice session then bounced back to be third quickest in P2 as world champion Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in both runs.
Speaking after the day’s events, a cheeky Ricciardo was quick to take the mickey out of a Sky Sports reporter who must have wished he’d been far more literal in his line of questioning.
Here’s the transcript of what went down between the pair.
Reporter: We were speaking to (Red Bull boss) Christian (Horner) after the first practice session and he said you were down on full power this morning just trying to bed it in?
Daniel Ricciardo: Yep, just bed it in, yep. So we bought some new mattresses and the first night of sleep you need to get a few people on the bed to figure it out so … pillow fights and all.
R: OK, absolute nonsense. But this afternoon, any better?
DR: We had a slumber party and it was pretty good. It got wild.
R: OK good, and on the track how would you say things are going?
DR: You lost me. Yeah it was a pretty good day, we did alright. This morning we didn’t run full beans the whole way, we’ve got to get this engine through to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi so we were just trying to be smart with our usage. This afternoon on the supersofts we were able to run a normal setting and it looked really good … relative to Ferrari I think we had a pretty good day.
R: Good work, sleep well.
DR: Thankyou, I will. Well it’s bedded in now so I’ll sleep great.
Ricciardo’s victim took the good-natured humour in his stride, laughing along with the Australian as he tried to prise some actual racing chat from his lips.
Hamilton, with four world championship stars now painted on his race helmet, smashed the Interlagos track record as Mercedes dominated practice.
Showing no sign of letting up despite clinching his fourth world title in Mexico at the end of October, Hamilton lapped the anti-clockwise track with a best time of 1 minute, 09.202 seconds.
Hamilton returned to the track on Saturday morning (AEDT) to post a best lap of 1:09.515 seconds to edge out teammate Valtteri Bottas by just five hundredths of a second on a strong day for the Silver Arrows.
Bottas, who is bidding to end the season as runner-up to the Briton, was also second fastest in the morning in 1:09.329.
The previous track record of 1:09.822 was set by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in 2004 qualifying for Ferrari.
Hamilton, who also accused Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg over the radio of dangerous driving in forcing him wide onto the run-off, was half a second faster than Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The Finn was the best of the non-Mercedes rest, with Red Bull’s Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen fourth on a sunny morning in Sao Paulo.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had an early spin, was sixth. Mercedes clinched the constructors’ championship for a fourth successive year and said it will use practice at the last two races to experiment with processes and parts for 2018.
With none of the top four teams able to improve their placings or in any danger of dropping down the order, others were also turning their thoughts to next year.
“Obviously, both cars have got bits that they (the engineers) are having a look at for future events,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose team has won two of the last four races with Verstappen.
“These sessions are so valuable now. They are the last opportunities this year to try a few things out for future car development.”
Ricciardo will have a drop of at least 10 grid places due to power unit changes while Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly will also pick up engine penalties.
— with AAP