Daniel Ricciardo finished qualifying for the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix frustrated after coming close to leading drivers’ pace but ultimately ending up fifth.
Ricciardo will start the race in fourth courtesy of a grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton having posted a 1:28.398 lap-time, under half-a-second slower than pace-setter Sebastian Vettel.
The Australian had mixed feelings about coming so close to a front-row start:
“That was really close,” said Ricciardo. “Part of me is disappointed that we are so close but still at the tail of the lead pack in Qualifying, but I don’t think I could really have done much better.
“Lewis was still a couple of tenths ahead of me. There was maybe a tenth left on the table but I think the Mercedes still had some extra pace. It’s almost frustrating to be so close but actually it’s encouraging that the top five cars are within about four tenths.”
Ricciardo is optimistic of a good result in tomorrow’s race, citing Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s practice race-pace as the reason.
“I’m always excited for the race. Practice and Qualifying are ok but Sunday is my favourite day of the week.
“Yesterday our race pace didn’t look bad but I think our car in FP2 wasn’t as good as it is now, so it’s encouraging to know that our car should be even better tomorrow and hopefully it puts us in the fight.
“We will start in fourth place now with Lewis’s penalty so I think it is going to be exciting. Hopefully, in 24 hours we can do a pretty cool interview after a good race.”
Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen crashed out of qualifying’s first session but Ricciardo was keen to congratulate Red Bull’s junior team, Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda.
“I’m also pleased for Pierre [Gasly], Toro Rosso and Honda today. Not taking anything away from Pierre, but in my first year at Toro Rosso I also qualified sixth here and he has done the same. I can see him doing the interviews and he is super excited, so it’s good for the team and I’m happy for him.”