The qualifying sessions in Australia were not what the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team would have wanted, with Daniel Ricciardo seventh and Daniil Kvyat thirteenth.
After missing free practice two on Friday afternoon and being forced to become the first driver in 2015 to switch to a second power unit after issues with the first Renault engine, Ricciardo recovered well to qualify seventh, just over two seconds off the pace of the pole setting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. The Australian was positive about his qualifying position, believing it was realistically the best he could have hoped for.
“We made progress through the session which is promising, it was so good to feel the car for once and push it properly,” said Ricciardo. “I think seventh is where we are now and I’m happy we achieved that as the weekend hasn’t gone well until now and qualifying was the first time I used the soft tyre.
“The drivability has been tricky; we suffered a bit this time last year, but there are a few more issues this year which weren’t expected, but it’s how it is and we need to try and sort it out.
“I’m really happy with seventh as realistically that’s the best we could have done today. The progress we made through qualifying is real and hopefully we can carry that on for the race.”
Team-mate Kvyat had an even trickier time, with the Russian only able to set one time late in the first part of qualifying to make it through to Q2 due to a gearbox issue, before a small mistake meant he missed out on Q3 by just over three tents of a second.
“We are trying our best,” insisted Kvyat. “It was hard with the few laps that we had and I was just trying to get up to speed; I didn’t have enough confidence to make a good lap.
“It’s not easy at the moment because we are trying to solve some problems, but we are making progress.”