Daniel Ricciardo described qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as “enjoyable” and will start fifth for the race.
The Australian, in his final race for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, will start on the ultrasoft rather than the less durable hypersoft but was annoyed to miss out on fourth to Kimi Räikkönen.
“Today was fast and fun, it was actually an enjoyable qualifying session.
“I thought I had Kimi for fourth but he just got me by half a tenth.
“I would be happier with fourth than fifth but we got through Q2 on the ultrasoft which was our target.
“There is a big step, maybe one second between the ultra and the hyper so we needed to do more or less the perfect lap on the ultra to make it through Q2.
“It was very close and I was in P10 but the team made the call to abort the lap and we just made it through.”
Despite being fifth and sixth on the grid, Ricciardo believes the Red Bull’s are close to Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari.
“My first run in Q3 was good and we looked very close but both Mercedes and Ferrari improved.
“Fifth and sixth as a Team doesn’t look that special on paper but the gap is small and we are competitive.”
Ricciardo is aiming for a podium place in his final race in Red Bull colours and wants to clear the Ferrari’s early on in the race.
“We have solid race pace and hopefully our degradation will be better than Ferrari and Mercedes and we can apply the pressure.
“I’ll be staring down the two Ferraris on the grid, they’re in my way of a podium at the moment so I’ll try and get in front of them as quickly as possible.
“All weekend our car has been strong, especially in the last sector, so the podium fight is on.”