Daniel Ricciardo is hoping starting on the supersoft will give him a “little bit of friendly grip off the line” and allow him to challenge the Mercedes' in Sunday's United States Grand Prix.
Ricciardo qualified third on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas, but unlike Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ahead - and also unlike his team-mate, Max Verstappen, who will start alongside him in fourth - he will line-up on the grid with the supersofts bolted to his Red Bull, whereas Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen all got through Q2 using the slower soft tyre.
UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX – Qualifying results
“It was a pretty good lap, I think,” Ricciardo said, when asked about his best lap in Q3, “it was fairly clean. I think the last corner was a bit messy, but when you look at the gaps to Nico and the gaps to Max, I couldn't have done better let's say. I am happy with that. Third is nice. We start on the supersofts [too].
“We talked about it before the session and Max was more keen to start on the soft and I was happy with the supersoft. I think just hopefully it gives me a bit better start and I can really get in the mix with the Mercedes guys.
“Obviously they are going to be fighting each other. But hopefully I can be another number to their equation.
“Hopefully the supersoft will give me a little bit of friendly grip off the line.”
Pressed on if he has any concerns that he will start on the supersoft, he added: “Not concerned. We expected it to go like this. [As I said] Max was wanting to try the soft and I was happy to go on the supersofts. I was a bit more probably comfortable on that tyre yesterday on the long runs and that was the reason for that.
“[Overall] I think the day was pretty good. Not really close to Mercedes, but we expected them to be very hard to beat. But we have got a good buffer over Ferrari and I think the car was working pretty well. We have got a good chance tomorrow. So let's see what we can do.”
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As for the plan in the race, Ricciardo has a simple aim: “Just ride into sunset. Hopefully put my cowboy hat on and take off like that and that will be a great day.
“I will try and do everything I can to win tomorrow. Obviously I have got Lewis and Nico in front of me, but those supersoft tyres should give me a little bit of a buffer and should make the loop on my rope a bit wider and give me a better chance to get them.”
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