“Firstly, nice to be back up here,” said Ricciardo, who saw former team mate Sebastian Vettel beat him to pole position as Ferrari and Red Bull dominated Saturday evening’s session. “It has been a while, its good. Bit of a coincidence with Seb and I.”
Red Bull have regularly found themselves the fourth-best team this season, but always predicted the RB11 could shine on the tight confines of the Marina Bay Street Circuit. And so it proved, although Ricciardo admitted he had suspected Mercedes might have been sandbagging in practice.
“Qualifying was exciting - to have no Mercedes [up there] was a surprise to everyone,” the Australian commented. “I thought they were playing a few card games yesterday, but it seems they’re not particularly comfortable here. Good to capitalise on that.”
As for Sunday’s race, Ricciardo wasn’t about to make any rash predictions, even though his chances of matching, or bettering, his best result of 2015 to date - third place in July’s Hungarian Grand Prix - look strong.
“I think we’ve definitely made a lot of progress,” he added. “We’ll just try and hang in on the long runs tomorrow and make a race of it.”
It was a good qualifying all round for Red Bull, with Ricciardo’s team mate Daniil Kvyat matching his best F1 Saturday showing with fourth place on the grid behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.