Daniel Ricciardo hopes for a good battle with the Scuderia Ferrari’s and maybe the Mercedes’ after qualifying sixth for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday, although the Australian will be promoted to fifth after Sebastian Vettel takes his three-place grid penalty following his Malaysian Grand Prix collision with Nico Rosberg.
“I’m happy with our long run race pace and should have similar pace to Ferrari, we expect them to be our real rivals in the race,” said Ricciardo. “We also expect Mercedes to be conservative and turn down their power in the race, so we’ll see what happens.”
Ricciardo conceded that he struggled with the car and really wanted to get more out of qualifying but the lack of straight line speed hampered the team from challenging the Mercedes’.
“To be honest I was hoping for a bit more from qualifying. We knew it was going to be close with Ferrari and we were hoping to get in front of them but they had good pace. It’s a little frustrating as we were losing time down the straights and we need to find out why.”
Red Bull Racing have historically been strong in Japan with their aerodynamic package producing some stunning results, but they were disappointed to be forced to settle for fifth and sixth in qualifying, and Ricciardo is expecting a good battle with his rivals on Sunday.
“We’ll gain a position through Sebastian’s penalty, starting P5 is better than P6 and hopefully we have a good battle on our hands.”
The race could be better for Red Bull with the long run pace on both types of tyre compound being hugely positive during free practice.