The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team put their off-track rows with engine suppliers Renault behind them to post an impressive qualifying effort in Malaysia, with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat setting the fourth and fifth fastest time in the wet of Sepang.
Ricciardo was happy to qualify fourth in Sepang, taking advantage of the wet conditions, and is hoping to finish inside the top four on Sunday in a car he says is improved since the season opener in Australia.
“We’ve always gone pretty well in the wet and there are still some things we can improve, but fourth is a good result for the team,” said Ricciardo. “The second row is a good starting position and we should hopefully have some battles tomorrow.
“We’re behind Mercedes and Ferrari, but we are ahead of the Williams and the conditions were tricky, so that’s good, step by step we are improving and heading in the right direction.
“Tyre degradation will be high, so it will probably be a three-stop race tomorrow. If we can finish in the top four, that will be good.”
Team-mate Kvyat ended up just behind the Australian on the grid, but felt he might have set his best lap time a little early, with the Russian believing he could have been even quicker had he delayed his run. He agreed with Ricciardo that the team had made a step forward in Malaysia after the disappointments in Australia two weeks ago.
“It was a decent qualifying for us,” insisted Kvyat. “P4 and P5 is good for the team but I think on our lap we maybe went out a little early, it might have been better later on but it’s hard always to know with the conditions.
“Overall, there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and we are seeing some improvements, it’s a good start.”