Ricciardo: ‘The podium fight is on’

Date published: November 24 2018

Daniel Ricciardo believes that Red Bull can fight for a podium finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday evening.

The Australian is in his final race for the Red Bull team, and will be looking to finish with a bang before his move to Renault for 2019.

The RB14 looks easier on its tyres than both the Mercedes and Ferraris so Sunday could prove to be a fruitful race for the Aussie.

In qualifying, though, Ricciardo could only manage a P5 finish, after thinking he had pipped Kimi Raikkonen onto the second row.

“Today was fast and fun, it was actually an enjoyable qualifying session,” Ricciardo said.

“I thought I had Kimi for fourth but he just got me by half a tenth.

“I would be happier with fourth than fifth but we got through Q2 on the ultrasoft which was our target.”

Ricciardo was the only Red Bull man to get through to Q3 on the ultrasofts, with team-mate Max Verstappen having to put the quicker hypersoft tyres on to make it through to the final shootout.

That could compromise the Dutchman in the race, but Ricciardo will start on the same tyre as the four in front of him.

“There is a big step, maybe one second between the ultra and the hyper so we needed to do more or less the perfect lap on the ultra to make it through Q2,” he admitted.

“It was very close and I was in P10 but the team made the call to abort the lap and we just made it through.

“My first run in Q3 was good and we looked very close but both Mercedes and Ferrari improved.

“Fifth and sixth as a Team doesn’t look that special on paper but the gap is small and we are competitive.”

That lack of degradation compared to their rivals could come into play on Sunday evening.

“We have solid race pace and hopefully our degradation will be better than Ferrari and Mercedes and we can apply the pressure.”

“I’ll be staring down the two Ferraris on the grid, they’re in my way of a podium at the moment so I’ll try and get in front of them as quickly as possible.

“All weekend our car has been strong, especially in the last sector, so the podium fight is on.”

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