The Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will start tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix from 4th and 6th on the grid respectively.
A time of 1:29.545 was enough for Ricciardo to beat Kimi Raikonnen into a spot on the second row, behind Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and pole-setter Valtteri Bottas.
Speaking after the race, the Australian driver said he was pleased that incremental work on the car was paying dividends, and he hoped for a positive race tomorrow. (16/04)
Ricciardo said, “It’s been a good and positive day today. We didn’t expect much to change from China to here but now we’re a lot closer to pole than we were a week ago so we’ll take that. To be on the second row and to get ahead of a Ferrari is a good surprise.
“We’re learning and are getting a bit more out of the car as well which is great to see. If tomorrow Mercedes and Ferrari run into some tyre degradation maybe we can have a bit of a go. But the aim now is to try and maintain this gap in the race and stay within half a second or second each lap and to replicate our pace during qualifying in the long runs.”
As for Verstappen, the Dutch driver had been second in the first qualifying session, but was unable to get ahead of the traffic in the final session and finished behind Raikkonen in 6th. Nevertheless, he hoped to see an improvement in the race itself.
Verstappen said, “In general the whole qualifying was very positive and we improved with every session up until the last run where I just got hurt in the preparation. Felipe (Massa) squeezed in front and I had to stay in first gear to keep a gap to him so the tyres cooled down which hurt my first sector. If you lose straight away two tenths then it’s not ideal and you try to catch up but it’s very hard if the tyres are not in the window. The pace was there today but just not on the last run when it counted, but sometimes that happens if you have some traffic.
“I think Mercedes is still too fast for us but the Ferrari doesn’t look too far ahead. Our car seems to work much better on this track so hopefully we will get a clean start with no incidents and then see what we can do in the race. It was definitely possible to be a bit further forward but last time I started a bit further behind and ended on the podium so anything is possible.”