Daniel Ricciardo: “It’ll be a good fight for third place”

Daniel Ricciardo - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Daniel Ricciardo feels positive that a good weekend could be on the cards at the Yas Marina Circuit after finishing inside the top five in both free practice sessions on Friday.

The Red Bull Racing star found himself outpaced by team-mate Max Verstappen in both sessions but feels he should be in the fight for third place on the grid behind the two Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg during Saturday’s qualifying session.

“It’s hot here, even if it’s night-time and the tyres get worked pretty hard both front and rear so relative to everyone I think we still look pretty good,” said Ricciardo. “If we all put it together tomorrow we’re more or less there and I’m confident it’ll be a good fight for third place.

“As expected Mercedes are ahead but I don’t think they are miles ahead, so looking at today maybe we can still race them on Sunday. It’s a dangerous circuit around here, but I don’t see any reason to hold back in practice. If it’s Monaco then I understand if you’re being careful about your equipment but here you can definitely push and go on the limit so we’ll see tomorrow.”

Ricciardo is looking forward to the rest of the weekend, but remains unsure to whether either of the Mercedes drivers showed their hand as they reach the final battle in the war for the title in Abu Dhabi.

“Maybe Nico is holding back a bit and not showing Lewis too much,” said Ricciardo. “I think everyone predicts Lewis to take pole so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out tomorrow. I definitely felt comfortable today and am looking forward to the next two days.”