Ricciardo returns to form in Grand Prix practice runs

Daniel Ricciardo put the pedal to the metal and secured fourth spot in Mexico City.

Daniel Ricciardo put the pedal to the metal and secured fourth spot in Mexico City. Photo: Getty

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo made ground on his Formula One rivals as his McLaren teammate Lando Norris topped times in the last practice session at the Australian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo clocked the sixth-fastest lap during Saturday’s practice session at Albert Park in Melbourne after being eighth and 10th in Friday’s two practices.

McLaren’s Norris (one minute 19.177 seconds) was the fastest during an eventful final practice ahead of qualifying later on Saturday.

Norris was followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

The session was punctuated by crashes to both Aston Martin cars and left Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen confused.

Verstappen twice left the track and posted just the seventh-quickest lap.

“I just don’t get why I am spinning,” Verstappen said on his team radio.

“It’s really hard to feel the balance at the moment.”

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel crashed his Aston Martin on his fifth lap while teammate Lance Stroll struck mechanical troubles and failed to complete his 11th lap.

Local hope Ricciardo completed 14 laps – his best was 0.576 second behind the session’s pacesetter Norris.

Ricciardo and Noriss’ performances in McLarens have raised hopes they may not be as far off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull as initially feared.

Monaco-born Leclerc won the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain and finished second behind Verstappen in Saudi Arabia.

His teammate Sainz ensured Ferrari claimed double-podiums in the initial two races with a second placing in Bahrain and third in Saudi Arabia.

After two races, Leclerc leads the drivers championship with 45 points, followed by Sainz (33) and Verstappen (25).


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