Daniel Ricciardo will launch himself from the third row at the start of tomorrow’s Russian GP in Sochi.
The Red bull driver qualified sixth on the track, in front of Force India’s Sergio Perez and team mate Daniil Kvyat, but moves up a spot courtesy of the 5-spot grid penalty inflicted to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Overall, Ricciardo was satisfied with his performance, believing the ground lost over Williams was more a function of the Sochi Autodrom layout rather than any Red Bull underperformance.
“The corners here are not slow, they are sort of medium speed,” the Aussie explained.
“It is where Williams for example are a bit more comfortable, and they can keep their momentum up, and with the power they have they can use it a bit easier.
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“I guess it is a power circuit. There is not much tire degradation, so where we are able to use our tires a bit harder or better at some tracks, that advantage goes away here, especially during long runs where there is not much tire wear.
“It is hard to get the tire working working on one lap. But generally we are not too discouraged with qualifying. I think we did quite well. And I’m pretty close to Felipe.
“It would’ve been nice to jump him of course. We are there or thereabouts where we need to be, and we can race Williams from there. That is our real target.”
Ricciardo also suffered a particularly distracting incident in Q3 when his right mirror came adrift, frantically flopping in the wind and around the Red Bull’s cockpit.
“I just saw it starting to shake a little bit and then it came (loose) and I tried to pull it off, but it has the cable which was holding on, so it got in the way for one corner and then it came off.
“It was fine. I do not think it has happened before. I am just going too damn fast!”
Looking at tomorrow’s race, Ricciardo will be looking to hold on to the Williams in front and eventually get the better of it although the Red Bull driver knows he will have his work cut out for him.
” Lewis starts tenth, if he does not start at the back, I expect him to come through, and Vettel will be hard to keep off at some point. But if we can sort of move forward past the Williams, I think that would be really good.
How can it happen? If not on the start, it is likely a one stop here, so you have to probably do something brave with strategy, either stop really late or really early.
There is not much else you can do, so that is something we will look into, but obviously everyone else is trying to do the same and trying to find a little secret to make a one-stop that bit better than anyone else’s.”
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