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Daniel Ricciardo Q&A: Fingers crossed for a podium

01 Nov 2014

While team mate Sebastian Vettel starts from the Austin pit lane on Sunday, Daniel Ricciardo sits fifth on the grid as the fastest non Mercedes-powered car. Could it be enough to propel him to a top-three finish? The ever-optimistic Australian is certainly not ruling it out…

Q: Daniel, please give us an overview of your weekend so far?
Daniel Ricciardo:
So far it is pretty good. Of course we always do love do be better than we actually are, but generally we are happy. What we are the happiest about is the progress that we were able to make through qualifying itself. In Q1 we were a fair way off, but we kept tuning the car with the front wing and tyre pressures. I felt that we found a better balance with each run. It was great to see the rate of progression in that one hour and to see us close the gap on the Williams - and being very close to Felipe (Massa) was very good.

Q: How did Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying strategy affect yours?
DR:
In the morning he did a lot of race runs, so that was good as we could collect quite a bit of data out of that. In regards to the qualifying, for sure it would have been good to have both cars with a bit more information. Regardless of that, for me it was nice to see that I was doing my own thing. So generally speaking I think it was alright.

Q: Some of the teams had problems with their brakes, what is the status at Red Bull?
DR:
For sure this circuit is high on the brakes. There are a few points where you have to use a lot of brake pressure and big stops. But so far we have not had any issues.

Q: Looking at your nearest faster competitors, the Williams, what do you think will be possible in tomorrow’s race?
DR:
The Williams do have a very good straight-line speed. In terms of the strategy, which is more of a factor this year, this race looks more like a two-stop race. For sure there is always room to play with the number of stops. I also think that the track allows you to overtake - even if some of my colleagues argue with that - especially inferior cars. Because of the wide apexes you can come from a bit longer back and square out the corner a little bit more to overtake. At least this is what we have seen in the last couple of years, that there is that possibility. Also we do not have too much to lose, so we can also have a bit of fun out there. (laughs)

Q: You have worked your way up from the very back of the grid when you started out in Formula One racing, and now we see a couple of teams potentially disappearing back there. What are your thoughts on that?
DR:
For sure, this is not nice to see from all points of view - from the races’ point of view, from the fans’ and also from the people involved in the teams losing their jobs. It is a tough time at the moment. For me personally it was good to start at a very small team, not necessarily being in the limelight. I think it did make me grateful to know better cars. At HRT I was dreaming of racing for Toro Rosso, and then there I could finally score some points. Then being at Toro Rosso I was dreaming of racing for one of the top teams. So starting from the back does keep you hungry. So for the future I hope that we can find a solution to bring more cars back to the grid, whether it is to bring the ones back that we have lost recently, or if it is a few three-car teams.

Q: Coming back to tomorrow’s race, what is on your agenda?
DR:
Of course finishing as high as possible. With four Mercedes-powered cars ahead of me it will be interesting what’s in store for me. Keep fingers crossed that it will bring me all the way to the podium - that would be cool!