Daniel Ricciardo says he isn't dwelling on being out-qualified by Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, saying he expects the Red Bull to be quicker in the race.

For only the fourth time this season, a Toro Rosso driver has out-qualified both Red Bull drivers, with Verstappen claiming ninth on the grid, directly ahead of Ricciardo in tenth and Daniil Kvyat in 11th.

Blaming the slip in pace on a set-up change for Q3 that didn't have the desired effect after being prevented from doing low fuel runs in FP3, Ricciardo nonetheless doesn't believe he would have qualified higher than the fourth row regardless.

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"I thought Q3 would not be easy for us, so to get into Q3 was already, I won't say over achieving, but it was nice to get into it. We chipped away at the balance throughout.

"Qualifying was our first low fuel running all weekend. We tried to find some compromises with the set up, and we made a change for Q3 which I thought would work but it didn't. It was about seventh tenths slower, which was a bit weird.

"Even at our best we were about eighth or ninth, so we didn't lose that much from it. But we learned from it, so that was a positive. I don't think we will make that change or mistake again."

With Verstappen getting the better of him, though Ricciardo admits the Sochi Autodrom circuit potentially suits the Toro Rosso package, he feels he will be stronger in race trim.

"This was a strong track for them last year," he continued. "I guess it is something to do with the characteristics of their car. Normally they have a very strong front, so maybe that helps them here in one way or another.

"In the long runs we should be okay. We should probably have Max tomorrow, but it was one of their strong ones last year and one of our weaker ones. The trend is still there."