Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda hoping to rebound after ‘tricky’ start to British Grand Prix

At the Austrian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo rebounded from a slow start in the first practice session to ultimately finish ninth in the main event, delivering two hard-earned points for Visa Cash App RB F1 Team and quelling — for the moment at least — rampant rumors about his F1 future.

After a “tricky” Friday at Silverstone, he will need a similar rebound to finish in the points at the British Grand Prix.

Ricciardo finished in P13 during Friday’s first practice session and was at the back of the grid in P19 in FP2. Things were not too much better on the other side of the garage, as teammate Yuki Tsunoda’s spin in FP1 cut his session short with him down in P20. Tsunoda came back for FP2 and improved a bit on his time, posting the 16th-fastest time of the session.

Both drivers are hoping for more on Saturday.

“It was a tricky day,” admitted Ricciardo in the team’s post-practice report. “We found some answers for that trickiness in FP2 due to a few issues on the car in terms of load. It was a bit of a bummer because obviously you still try to do what you can, but it was a bit inconclusive on what our true pace is. In general, we’ll be trying to work on a few weaknesses we’ve seen and getting it better for tomorrow.

“We’ll try to find the course once we look at the data, but I’m confident it’s nothing too weird,” Ricciardo added. “It’s going to be a tough circuit this year, but we should be able to clean that up and be further up the grid than we were today.”

Tsunoda referred to his spin in FP1 as a less than “ideal” way to start the weekend.

“I didn’t have the ideal start to the race weekend with FP1 and lost some valuable track time, but we managed to collect plenty of data in FP2. I think we know where we’re at now,” said Tsunoda. “We didn’t expect to struggle as much as we did in FP2, but there’s more time to come from us and I’m sure we can find a couple more tenths for tomorrow and fight for Q3. It doesn’t seem our car quite suits these track characteristics with the long high-speed corners, but others just seem to be stepping it up. They’re doing a good job, so we’ll continue working and fighting for more.”

VCARB Racing Director Alan Permane echoed the team’s drivers, calling Friday a “challenging” start.

“A challenging day for us, starting with Yuki’s spin, which cost him almost all of the first session. This meant he wasn’t as prepared as he could have been for FP2 and didn’t get the most out of things. He’s generally happy with the car though,” added Permane. Daniel struggled with some instability at the rear and it’s clear we’ve got work to do overnight to find some low-speed performance which is costing lap time. We will have one eye on the weather as rain is forecast for both days over the weekend and we will take this into account with our setup choices. We need to get everything perfect to give our drivers a shot at Q3 tomorrow.”

As with the Austrian Grand Prix, Friday brought even more wild rumors on the Ricciardo front. While Red Bull Ring was abuzz with talk that Ricciardo could be facing the drop at VCARB, Friday’s rumors included a wild swing in the opposite direction, with speculation that the recent run of poor form from Sergio Pérez — and Ricciardo’s upward trend in recent weeks — could open the door to a swap between the drivers.

German outlet Auto Motor und Sport reported on Friday that performance clauses in Pérez’s and Ricciardo’s contracts could make such a swap possible next season. Reportedly, Red Bull is hoping to see improvement from Pérez in Budapest and Spa.

As is often the case, Dr. Helmut Marko fanned the flames even more, telling Auto Moto und Sport[w]e’ll know more by the summer break,” while not dismissing the reports.

Tricky, indeed.