Ricciardo confident of Abu Dhabi podium

Mat Coch

Sunday 26th November, 2017 - 2:12am

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Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo is confident of a podium finish heading into the season-ending Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Australian banked the fourth best time in qualifying thanks to a late effort, splitting the two Ferraris and putting him within striking distance of the all-Mercedes front row.

To that point, qualifying had proved a work in progress as Red Bull continued to tweak the setup on Ricciardo’s car during the session.

“We were just trying to figure out setup and all that,” he said.

“Bit of communication through the session trying to understand why we were there but we weren’t as quick as we thought we could be.

“I felt like Q3, run one was a pretty bad lap and I felt like we understood why, so then we put a good one together in that last run.

“Second row’s close enough to fight tomorrow,” he added.

“It hasn’t been the perfect year of Saturday’s with qualifying so it was nice to finish the year with a good lap.”

Throughout practice, Red Bull appeared to trail both Mercedes and Ferrari, though overnight progress and the strides made in qualifying left Ricciardo with a cause for optimism heading into tomorrow’s race.

“We’re close, and all I need is a good start and then we’re there,” he said.

“We’ll see once the race starts, and once the race settles, how we are. We’re still a few tenths off I think Ferrari, Mercedes yesterday, but a few changes overnight and I think the car will come to us.”

Ricciardo sits fourth in the drivers’ world championship on 200 points, seven points clear of Kimi Raikkonen in fifth who starts one place back in fifth.

The final race of the 2017 F1 season gets underway in Abu Dhabi at midnight AEDT on Sunday night.

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