Daniel Ricciardo felt there was more time to be found after the initial part of his fastest lap during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix was ‘terrible’, with at least four-tenths lost in the first sector.
The Red Bull Racing driver qualified fourth on the grid at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Saturday, just 0.429 seconds down on pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, but Ricciardo felt it could have been a different story had he found the time in that first sector, especially after his first lap in the session was much quicker there.
Despite this, he is still happy to qualify on the second row, just behind team-mate Max Verstappen but ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari drivers, and believes he can have a good race on Sunday afternoon.
“I think the fight was there but to be honest, my last lap was terrible,” said Ricciardo. “I was fighting it already out of Turn 1 and by Turn 6 I was nearly four tenths slower than my previous lap.
“We managed to recuperate some of that but looking at the gap to pole it was only four tenths so it could have been a lot better but it also could have been a lot worse.
“It’s just like that with a new surface, it’s still very slippery here and it’s hard to find that happy medium. In that last run in Q3 we definitely lost some performance, particularly in the first half of the lap but we’re still on the second row so that’s okay and I’ll take that.
“Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I think we can have a good race but to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow after this qualifying is difficult.”