Ricciardo needs to ‘lift game’ in qualifying

Date published: December 10 2017

Daniel Ricciardo is well aware that he needs to work on his one-lap pace for the 2018 season after being outclassed by team-mate Max Verstappen.

The Aussie won just seven out of 13 qualifying battles against Verstappen last season with the average gap between the pair over the course of the campaign standing at three tenths.

Ricciardo, who is into the final 12 months of his Red Bull contract and assessing his future, knows that he needs to improve in the area he usually considers to be a strong point of his.

"I can't deny that Max was better more times than not in qualifying this year – and qualifying has always been a strength of mine," Ricciardo said.

"So yeah, I've definitely got to lift my game in qualifying. The first part of that is to understand what I didn't execute as well this year as last.

"If it's half a tenth, it's half a tenth: it could decide pole; could decide a championship. We've got to fight for everything.

"And that's good. This year I think Max and I both feel that any mistake in qualifying means we're going to be second best.

"In the past, with some team-mates, you might perhaps get away with a little mistake here and there and still come out on top. Not anymore. We keep the pressure on each other."

Continuing to look ahead to 2018, Ricciardo was also quitely confident that Red Bull can buck their trend of starting the season slowly and becoming stronger as the year goes on.

He added: "I don't want to set the expectation bar too high – mostly because I hate that phrase – but yeah, the way we've progressed this year has been massive.

"We've developed more than anyone else. Because of that, it's hard to think we would not start next year on the right foot."