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Ricciardo hails ‘awesome’ second row start for Miami Sprint as he sets sights on valuable points

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB walks to the garage

Daniel Ricciardo was full of smiles following an eye-catching run to fourth position during Friday’s Sprint Qualifying session at the Miami Grand Prix, with the Australian continuing to build on his recent performance breakthrough.

After a change of chassis and a much more encouraging display relative to team mate Yuki Tsunoda in China, Ricciardo picked up where he left off at the Miami International Autodrome with a run to SQ3 and a spot on the second row of the grid for the Sprint.

READ MORE: Verstappen claims pole in Miami Sprint Qualifying ahead of Leclerc and Perez

Asked for his reaction to the result when he stepped out of the car, a beaming Ricciardo commented: “I feel obviously really good about it. It was just a good session.

“SQ1, run one, the first lap, I actually made a mistake, so we were putting ourselves under a bit of pressure, but I found a good lap, then SQ2 I think we just kind of built up from there.

2024 Miami GP Sprint Qualifying: Jubilant Ricciardo crosses the line to take P4

“I think all of us… I was speaking to Max [Verstappen] just now and he said he was quite surprised to be P1 with his lap, and I was saying with mine I was surprised to be P4.

“[With] the soft [tyre], I expected a bit more from it, but it didn’t really give that much more than the medium, so we were expecting everyone to go a lot quicker and they didn’t.

READ MORE: ‘Somehow we were first!’ – Verstappen amazed to emerge with pole after ‘terrible’ Sprint Qualifying in Miami

“The second row is awesome. I touched the wall both laps as well. I told the team I was definitely trying to get everything out of it! I don’t know if that made me quicker or not but we were going for it and I had some comfort in the car.”

Ricciardo’s next mission is to convert the strong grid slot into his first points finish of the season, with the top-eight finishers in the 100-kilometre Sprint all scoring.

Sprint Qualifying Highlights: 2024 Miami Grand Prix

“I’d love to be more than eighth, for sure,” added Ricciardo, who will take a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Grand Prix after a Safety Car infringement in Shanghai last time out. “I’d love to get a few points from it.

“We’ll see what happens, but just being… obviously I experienced it in Mexico [last season], starting at the front is just a lot nicer than being 12th, 13th.

READ MORE: Leclerc delighted to bounce back in Sprint Qualifying after working on ‘weak point’

“I say that from… obviously it’s logical, but just from a Turn 1, first lap, being involved in a bit of chaos, staying a bit cleaner at the front is always like a breath of fresh air. I’m sure the second row will help our cause in getting some points.”

While Ricciardo will start the Sprint at the sharp end of the grid, Tsunoda is set to line up back in 15th place after dropping out of the running in the SQ2 phase.

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