Daniel Ricciardo admitted to being happier with the result of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix, feeling that he got the most out of his RB13 in securing fifth place on the grid.
The Red Bull Racing driver was 1.711 seconds off the pole position time set by Sebastian Vettel but was able to out-qualify his team-mate Max Verstappen by more than two-tenths of a second, but despite the gap he felt fifth was all that he could have hoped for anyway, such was the pace advantage of the teams at the front of the field.
“I don’t think the practice session timings were completely representative of our pace and I felt like we were always a bit better than the timing screen showed but we hadn’t quite put it all together,” said Ricciardo.
“In Q1 and Q2 we were trying to circulate and build temperature in the tyres but in Q3 we went for it and decided just to do one push lap which seemed to work so I’m glad we chose to do that. I’m pretty happy, I think fifth was all we could ask for today and that’s obvious looking at the gap to the front.
“Fifth is our best qualifying result here in Russia and we have to take the positives for now so I’m pleased to have achieved that for the team.”
Ricciardo believes the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari will be fighting for the win on Sunday, but he is hoping to come out on top of the battle that is likely to rage for the remainder of the points-paying positions, with Williams Martini Racing in particular looking strong.
“I think Ferrari and Mercedes will be battling for the win tomorrow but we will definitely have a good fight for the top five,” said Ricciardo. “Compared to the Williams I think we have more rear downforce and could be better on the tyres but they have the straight-line speed and if you compare us to Ferrari and Mercedes they still have a bit of everything on us.
“For everyone watching at home I hope we can all have a good race and it’s definitely good for the sport now that Mercedes is being challenged.”