In a rather frank assessment of his outlook for the 2017 F1 season that commences with the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, Daniel Ricciardo admitted that his Team Red Bull car is slower than the Mercedes entries by about half a second per lap.
In motoracing, half a second is about the same as saying every year of human life is the equivalent of seven for our pamper pooches.
Still, Team Red Bull has narrowed the gap to some degree and if Ricciardo can turn in the consistent quality performances that found him finishing third in the overall standings for the season, it should shock no one to see him on the podium with regularity, perhaps even atop it at times.
Ricciardo said that the half second differential of which he was speaking was measured during testing, which he says, does not provide a really clear picture of what will happen when all the other aspects of live racing are factored in.
He and his teammate Max Verstappen warmed up for the race with a promotional contest in boats on the Yarra, but times on water do not provide much indication of what may happen on the track, either.