Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in Qualifying for the United States Grand Prix but will start fourth after Sebastian Vettel’s penalty is applied, and he joked that he has not been so high up the grid for a long time.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver was 1.257 seconds off the pole time of Lewis Hamilton but will be one of four drivers inside the top five to start on the Supersoft tyre, and by being inside the top four he feels he can put himself into the fight for the podium places at the Circuit of the Americas.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had a second row start, so I guess I can kind of thank Seb or the stewards for that extra grid position,” joked Ricciardo. “Being on the second row puts me in the mix at the start, Turn 1 is wide and I’m sure there will be a bit going on.
“I’m just happy to have my nose there and then we just need to make it happen.”
Ricciardo knows Qualifying is where Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari are able to stretch their legs but it is usually on Sunday where Red Bull can close the gap, although he acknowledges the Circuit of the Americas is not best suited to the RB14, particularly in the opening two sectors.
The Australian hopes to get in between the Mercedes/Ferrari battle at the start and put himself into a position where he can secure a return to the podium, his last visit having came when he was victorious in the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May.
“Ferrari and Mercedes were really strong today and their qualifying pace has been pretty superior all season, but in the race we seem to be able to bring that back,” said the Australian. “If I can get track position at the start then I can maybe disrupt their tempo and have a good crack at a podium.
“We look pretty racy in the third sector, in the first and second we’re going to bleed a little but I’m gonna try and make something happen. It’s also probably going to be a little hotter tomorrow, which might help work the tyres a bit harder but I think if it’s cool then there isn’t too much difference between the ultrasoft and supersoft.
“Every year I’ve come here with Red Bull we’ve been in a shot of getting a podium, so hopefully we’ve got a good shot tomorrow and I can promise you now, if I’ve got an opportunity of a podium tomorrow, I’m not going to let it slip.”