Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo: “I know it’s only qualifying but actually it’s pretty special”

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Daniel Ricciardo - Aston Martin Red Bull Racing - Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Credit: Charles Coates/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo was ecstatic to clinch his third pole position of his career on Saturday, with the Australian jumping to the top of the timing screens when it mattered at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

His Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team-mate Max Verstappen had been the driver to beat throughout free practice in Mexico City, and was on top after the first runs in Q3 as he bid to become the youngest polesitter in Formula 1 history, only for Ricciardo to deny him his moment by 0.026 seconds.

“As you can probably tell, I’m pretty happy right now,” said Ricciardo.  “I know it’s only qualifying but actually it’s pretty special and this is only the third time in my career that I’ve been on pole.

“Every other time was Monaco, it starts with an M but this time it’s Mexico.”

Ricciardo admitted not many people would have expected him to grab top spot on Saturday, but he knew that with a fully clean and committed lap he could be in contention, and ultimately his lap record-breaking lap of 1:14.759 saw him take pole position.

“Putting the lap together right at the very end, when Max had dominated in practice and then Mercedes came on so strong made it even more exciting,” admitted the Australian.  “I don’t think anyone expected me to do it, but I knew there was some extra speed in me and I’m happy to have found it.

“I knew I could clean up my first lap in Q3 and the first sector on my second lap was still average, but in the second sector I was building, and I was pretty pumped up by the third.”

Ricciardo hopes the pole position means an end to his recent run of poor fortune, with his last top three finish having came when he took victory in the street of Monaco in May, and he feels Red Bull will be happy to leave Mexico if they finish first and second on Sunday.

“It feels awesome to be back at the front and it feels right,” said Ricciardo.  “It’s been a challenging year and I’ve been wanting to finish on a high with Red Bull, so hopefully my run of poor fortune has come to an end and we can deliver what we all want tomorrow.

“This is the first front row lockout for the Team since 2013 so it’s a really big day for us all. I don’t think it will be a straightforward race and it will certainly be interesting, but hopefully it will be interesting for all the right reasons.

“It’s going to be a good fight with Max, Lewis and Seb but if we can convert a double front row into a double podium then the entire Team will leave Mexico very happy.”

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