Daniel Ricciardo believes he “extracted more or less everything” from his car during qualifying for Sunday’s Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.
The Australian had just one run in the final phase of qualifying, recording a time that would ultimately prove to be good enough for ninth on the grid.
It left Ricciardo satisfied with his performance, though wary that he’s compromised when it comes to the opening stint of the race after setting his Q2 time on the less durable soft compound tyres.
“We’ve had a difficult few weeks in qualifying where I haven’t been too happy with myself, but today was much better and I extracted more or less everything from the car,” said Ricciardo, who is sporting a one-off helmet design inspired by the Texas Longhorns this weekend.
“We’ll give it a go tomorrow, I’ll get the horns out and look to advance.
“We’re starting on the soft (compound tyres), maybe it’s not the best tyre to begin the race, but it is what it is.
“We’re on the clean side of the grid too, so we’ll be looking to make some places there and get our heads down.”
Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg did not progress to Q3, but the German does hold a promising 11th place on the grid.
“I was lacking a bit of pace, some harmony in the car, and I couldn’t quite extract that final tenth, which meant we didn’t progress to Q3,” Hulkenberg explained.
“I was happy with my laps, so we’ll have to take that for today.
“I think 11th is a pretty good starting position, we have some freedom on strategy, which sometimes works in favour.”
With Ricciardo in the top 10 and Hulkenberg on its fringes with a free choice of tyres, the team is eyeing a double points result.
The team’s sporting director Alan Permane is optimistic of his team’s chances after both cars displayed promising long run pace during practice.
“We can be reasonably pleased with today’s qualifying but, of course, our target is to always have both cars in Q3,” said Permane.
“Our Friday high fuel pace looked very strong here, as has been the case at the last few races.
“We’re looking forward to Sunday and we’ll be aiming to maximise our chances to get both cars solidly into the points.”
Ahead of qualifying the team confirmed that it had recruited Pat Fry, a veteran engineer who has previously worked with Benetton, McLaren, Ferrari, and others.
He’s most recently worked as a consultant with McLaren, which placed him on gardening leave following the recruitment of James Key.