Although he is only starting from third place on the Abu Dhabi grid, Aussie star Daniel Ricciardo is pleased with the way his qualifying session unfolded at the Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday evening.
Speaking after the session, Daniel revealed that he is pleased to secure the position he did, especially after such a difficult start to the weekend. The fact that he is several places ahead of his young Dutch teammate, Max Verstappen, is another added bonus, allowing the Red Bull driver to continue with his record of never being out qualified by his teammate at this venue.
“I’m definitely pleased I got the third place I was after. It feels really good,” he said. “This morning was hard, I did a run quite early and I was nearly a second off Max so it didn’t look good on paper but the track warmed up so much that we didn’t really know what to expect coming into quali. Q1 was a little bit slow but then I picked it up and Q3 was solid enough so I was happy.”
Drivers have to start the race on whatever tyre set they set their fastest ime on in the second qualifying session and while the drivers around him on the grid did that on the ultrasoft fast Pirelli rubber, Daniel chose to go a different route and set his best time on the supersofts instead. This will allow for him to use a different strategy in the race and hopefully finish ahead of his nearest rivals…
“We’ll see about the strategy. It’s just nice to do something different to Mercedes,” he explained. “We know on the same equipment they’re probably going to be quicker so we feel it should make us go a little bit longer at the start and then perhaps we can bring the race back to us towards the end when our tyres might be a bit different.”
Even though there is a championship battle unfolding in Sunday’s race, Daniel has confirmed that while he may not have a car as good as the two in front of him, if there is a chance to go for the win, he will be taking it!
“For tomorrow of course I wish I was in their position, obviously they’ve both got a little bit more pressure than us this weekend, which I’m kind of envious about. But if the win is there for me tomorrow then I’ll go for it and there will be no holding back. You always have this level of respect as they’re fighting for the title, but if they leave the door open and I think I can pass, then I won’t make it easy for them and let them sail into the sunset.”