‘RIP’: Ricciardo’s engine dies at British GP
DANIEL Ricciardo has revealed the Renault engine that cut out in practice for the British Grand Prix was an older unit only used on Fridays.
Alarm bells rang when the Aussie star - who hasn't had the cleanest of runs in his first season with Renault - stopped on track and said over the radio: "I've got a problem. Switched off."
After marshals helped him push the car back to the garage, Ricciardo revealed the engine was a high-mileage, older-spec unit used only in practice.
"I think it's RIP to that engine." he told Auto Sport. "So we're going to have a little service tonight for it. It was called Pony as well, so we had to put Pony down.
"That was the original spec, so it was definitely just a practice engine. It would have been nice to get that to do a few more Fridays.
"But the word for now is that we're gonna say adios and put Pony down."
"I got my first points with Pony in Shanghai, I think it was," Ricciardo added.
"So she enjoyed China, loved a bit of Chinese food, strong guts, but other than that I think we'll forget about Pony tomorrow once we spread the ashes tonight."
Ricciardo was 14th, one spot ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg in FP2.
"This morning Nico and myself split setups. This afternoon we got them closer, but we're still a bit different in some areas," Ricciardo said.
"So trying to understand what's the best direction to go now. I think we'll find it. We're kind of there or thereabouts.
"There's a few other things that we did on the simulator which we might give a go tomorrow, but I don't know.
"I don't want to change too much, but I know we need to change a little bit to get to where we want to be."
Hulkenberg was also trying to remain positive. "I think the time sheets don't show too much optimism, but I think we are better than that," he adds.
"For sure we've still got some work to do, but I think there's some lap time on the table which we can get quite quickly.
"But to put us there into that P7, P8 area we do need to find a little bit more. So I think we're currently good enough to probably get inside the top 10, but just."
BOTTAS GETS MERCEDES BACK ON TOP
Two weeks after conceding supremacy to their rivals, Valtteri Bottas topped the times ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes dominated the windswept second free practice.
The Finn was quickest with an early best lap in one minute and 26.732 to end up outpacing the defending five-time champion and overall leader by 0.069 seconds.
It banished any fears the Silver Arrows' struggles in the heat of Austria's Styrian Alps would be repeated in the cooler and damp conditions of central England.
With Hamilton showing ominous pace and consistency in his race simulation runs, it was confirmation for Mercedes their superiority had returned even if the Briton warned onlookers to expect more pace from Ferrari on Saturday.
"It's been quite windy, quite gusty out there, so it hasn't been the easiest of days," said Hamilton.
"But we were up there nonetheless and it looks like we'll be in the fight. It's always difficult to say after the first day though - the Ferraris are usually slower on Friday and then pick up the pace on Saturday."
Charles Lerclerc was third ahead of his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, the Monegasque driver lapping two-tenths off Bottas's best pace.
Pierre Gasly followed up his time-topping performance in the morning's opening session by taking fifth for Red Bull ahead of British rookie Lando Norris of McLaren and a grumbling Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull.
"This is one of the worst Fridays I have ever had so I think we have a lot of work to do," said the Dutchman, who won last month's Austrian race, ending Mercedes' unbeaten season-opening run in the process.
"It's a bit bumpy in some places, but in general there's more grip," he added, referring to the newly asphalted track.
"It was quite windy, too, so that's not easy. We clearly didn't have a good car balance and that makes it even more difficult."
BEST FRIDAY OF THE SEASON
While Verstappen bemoaned the conditions, his teammate Gasly had his best day of the year.
"Let's wait for tomorrow and Sunday, to see, but for sure it's the best Friday of the season so far for me. All the changes we've made seem to work so we need to keep going in that direction," he said.
Gasly was lapped by the victorious Verstappen in Austria and the team reacted with a major review of his car. "It was a really good day on our side," he said. "I'm happy because we made a lot of changes since Austria and we have a good plan."
Carlos Sainz was eighth in the second McLaren ahead of Alex Albon of Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez of Racing Point on an overcast and cool day.
The session was largely uneventful, but did feature a few rare off-track excursions across some grass by Hamilton.
British rookie George Russell of Williams was hit by gearbox problems while Frenchman Romain Grosjean was also delayed by a hydraulics leak.