It was another tough day in Russia for the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team, with Daniel Ricciardo qualifying seventh and Sebastian Vettel eleventh, although a penalty for Kevin Magnussen promotes the two drivers into sixth and tenth respectively.
Ricciardo made it into through to the top ten shootout, but felt it was tough on track to get a good lap time in, although he admitted trying was a fun challenge. He was hopeful of qualifying higher than seventh.
”It’s tough to get a lap together around here,” insisted Ricciardo. “For a new track it’s really high in grip but at the same time it’s hard to read the grip; it’s not such a natural feeling that it gives us behind the wheel, but it’s fun and a new challenge. We were trying to get the fronts in and get grip out of them and on the last lap I lost the rear. We’re better off than we were yesterday, but I was hoping for more than seventh.”
Team-mate Vettel was disappointed to miss out on the final part of qualifying, missing out by just over a tenth of a second, but felt the day was difficult and he was just not quick enough.
“I wasn’t comfortable in the car today,” revealed Vettel. “It was very difficult, I think we took a step back from this morning and we expected the rear to be a lot stronger and the track to pick up more than it did. The car felt nervous, so I couldn’t take the speed into the corners, I lost the rear many times around the lap and therefore wasn’t quick enough.”
Team Principal Christian Horner reflected on a difficult session for the team, but admitted the team feel more confident with their long run pace rather than their one-lap pace.
“A difficult session for both our drivers, finishing what will become sixth and tenth,” said Horner. “We seem to have struggled to have one lap pace so far this weekend, hopefully our long runs have looked stronger and we can make some progress from those grid positions tomorrow.”