Daniel Ricciardo said the lap which secured him P5 on the grid for the Emilia Romagna GP was the best in Q3 of his season so far.
The Renault man wanted to bounce back from what he felt was a disappointing P9 finish last time out in Portugal, and the signs are certainly promising after Ricciardo pulled out a stonking lap to earn himself P5 on the grid for Formula 1’s first race at Imola since 2006.
For Ricciardo, it certainly carried the “wow” factor.
“That was wow. I’m still smiling,” he told reporters after the session.
“That was such a fun lap. I’m very happy with the lap and the result. Even that aside, pushing the cars around here, doing those lap times, is fun. It’s a serious circuit, it really is.
“It’s that combination, it’s narrow, it’s tight, it’s fast. There’s chicanes, but chicanes you can attack the kerbs. Not sure what it is with race cars and race drivers, something about taking kerbs and really throwing the car around, it shows a bit of personality in a way.
“Felt like a fun ragged aggressive session which we could manhandle. Q3 was awesome, that lap was my best Q3 one of the year.”
As for the race, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who will start P4, is the clear target for Ricciardo.
“I didn’t really get a long run in this morning, so I don’t think we know too much tomorrow, but saying that, everyone is in the same boat – I’m not too concerned,” he said.
“Gasly is a target. If we can get him at the start, fourth is a serious chance for us.
“That’s what we’ll try and capitalise on tomorrow. As fun as it was today, I do think it’s going to be trickier in the race as far as overtaking…it is narrow, hard to find an alternate line when following a car. Qualified well, that’s box number one ticked. We’ll try and execute a good 300-400m tomorrow.”
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Ricciardo’s team-mate Esteban Ocon was disappointed with his qualifying performance after missing out on Q3.
He will start the race from P12.
“Promising morning, promising Q1, I would say it was going very well,” he said.
“I was P7 after Q1 so I was thinking it was going to be good. First lap was not the best, but the second we decided to leave early before it got a bit colder.
“We just didn’t extract the maximum from what we had in the car today, so it’s a bit disappointing.”