Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo says he didn't expect to qualify a “pretty awesome” second for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo had hoped he might be able to get in front of a Ferrari or Mercedes if it was wet, but with conditions dry felt fifth would probably be the optimum.
However, in the end, he was better than both Ferraris - and with Hamilton sidelined in Q1 due to a technical problem, that translated to a place on the front row alongside pole sitter Nico Rosberg.
“Not sure!” said Ricciardo, when asked where he found the speed at the end of Q3 to do a 1min 35.917sec lap and to shade Raikkonen by 0.055secs.
“To be honest I didn't think we started qualifying in the best position. In Q1 obviously it was a disrupted session but also the balance it didn't seem like we were really going to be in a fight with the front few rows today.
“In Q3 we just found a bit more speed. The supersoft is a tricky tyre to manage, to get the one lap out of it is not exactly easy. It gets chewed up quite a bit as the lap goes on, so I think just understanding that as the session goes on.
"Obviously between me understanding a bit more what to do on track and the engineer making a few adjustments with pressures and the front wing, I think we got a good package at the front wing. Second is pretty awesome, I didn't expect this.”
Meanwhile, looking to the race, Ricciardo added that he hopes he can battle with the Ferraris and finish on the rostrum.
“I think it [the pace of the car] is encouraging, if we can have this on one lap then in the race we should still be pretty competitive. We are normally a bit better off in the race so let's see, I think the race will be, hopefully racing with Ferrari,” he continued. “I think Nico, with him starting on the softs, he should be in good shape but I hope to have a race with Ferrari and a sweeping battle for the podium - that would be awesome.
“The track changed quite a lot today compared to yesterday, I felt the balance was quite a long way different so I think it depends if it goes more back towards yesterday's track conditions or if it stays as it is today. I think that will probably dictate where we end up in the race.
"What the track temp does tomorrow and if it wears out the front tyres or if it wears out the rears I think that's going to be the determining factor so hopefully we will be at the good end of that - I think we should be so I'm looking forward to it.”