Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo said that the team was able to improve so drastically in the third qualifying session as they “understood tyre temperature a little better” ahead of the last run.
The Australian finished the final qualifying session of the year in fourth, beating Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen and edging teammate Max Verstappen by nearly four tenths of a second. Beating his teammate isn’t something he’s been able to do consistently this season, with Verstappen having qualified higher than Ricciardo in thirteen of the twenty races this season, however he’s happy to finish the season on a high.
“I’m happy with the end of Quali. I’m so happy to have jumped Ferrari and the second row is good. We thought we could get close to Ferrari but as Qualifying went on, it looked like they were too quick. During the first run in Q3 we were slow but I knew we could get a lot more out of the car, we just had to figure it out.
“We understood the tyre temperature a little better and then it was a much quicker lap.
“It hasn’t been the perfect year of Saturdays for me, so it’s nice to finish 2017 with a good one. We were pretty solid all weekend, just not quite on the pace of the top three but tomorrow I think we can have a chance for the podium.”
Whilst he’s never seen the podium at Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo’s did finish fourth in 2014 – his first season with Red Bull. He’s hoping that, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix being the last of the season, there will be action in front that he can take advantage of.
“I don’t think the start will be straightforward, it’s the last race of the year and everyone wants to win so there could be some action and hopefully I’m there to be a part of it.”