Ricciardo ready to ‘get horns out’ from P9 in Austin
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo said he put a run of disappointing qualifying performances behind him at the Circuit of The Americas by making Q3, and he’s primed to make up positions starting on soft tyres on Sunday.
Ricciardo’s P9 in qualifying was his best in five Grands Prix, and the Honey Badger was clearly reassured as he made it into Q3 for the first time since the Italian GP – where he finished a stunning fourth for Renault.
“We’ve had a difficult few weeks in qualifying where I haven’t been too happy with myself, but today was much better and I extracted more or less everything from the car,” he said.
“We’ll give it a go tomorrow, I’ll get the horns out and look to advance. We’re starting on the soft. Maybe it’s not the best tyre to begin the race – but it is what it is.
“We’re on the clean side of the grid too, so we’ll be looking to make some places there and get our heads down.”
As for team mate Nico Hulkenberg, who starts 11th having missed out on Q3, there may be a silver lining as he gets a free choice of tyres in the race - meaning he has the option to start on the more durable medium or hard rubber.
“I was lacking a little bit of pace, a little bit of harmony and balance and that’s obviously enough to tip you out," he said. "Eleventh is a good starting position, [it] gives us freedom and strategy – who knows what that’s worth tomorrow?”
Ricciardo wasn’t all smiles in Texas however, as he conceded that he wanted more time to enjoy the sights, savouries and sounds of Austin.
“I love this place," he said. "But I’ve been a little bit sad this week because I got here late, early hours of Thursday morning and that meant I was straight to the track, I haven’t had any chance to see any live music yet, eat any barbecue.
“I’m going to go out tonight, watch some UFC, there are a few fights on,” he said.
That could give Ricciardo – who’s failed to finish the last two US GPs due to reliability issues – all the encouragement he needs to throw a few haymakers on Sunday…