Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull can “disrupt the tempo” of Mercedes and Ferrari in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, despite being a second off the pace in qualifying.

The Red Bull driver was fifth-quickest in qualifying but ended up 1.257s off Lewis Hamilton’s pole position effort, with the top three consisting of Mercedes and Ferrari drivers covered by just 0.070s.

Ricciardo will start Sunday’s race from fourth on the grid after Sebastian Vettel’s penalty for speeding under a red flag period is applied, dropping the German to fifth.

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While Red Bull lacked the pace to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari during qualifying, Ricciardo is confident the Milton Keynes’ based squad’s deficit should be “somewhat halved” in race trim.

“The gap to the leaders is big,” Ricciardo acknowleged.

“We knew Mercedes would be really strong, but Ferrari turned it on today as well. I hope and feel that gap will get somewhat halved tomorrow, and we’ll be able to be a bit more competitive.

“I think if it goes off in order, it will be hard to put pressure on them the whole race. But if we can get some track position on them at the start, gain a few positions, we could disrupt their tempo and have a good crack for a podium.

“I’m kind of glad that Seb was not on pole because that would mean I start fifth. Because he is second I now start fourth, because of the penalty. So sorry Seb but I will take every position I can at the moment.”

Ricciardo has only stood on the podium twice this season, with his last appearance coming following his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix in May.

The Australian is determined to end that drought in Austin and has vowed to “send some missiles” in his bid to return to the top three.

“I feel like every year I’ve come here with Red Bull we’ve been if not on the podium, within a shot of it. So hopefully we’ve at least got a shot at it tomorrow,” he explained.

“I can promise you now that if I’ve got an opportunity to get a podium tomorrow I’m not going to let it slip. So I’ll do what I can.

“We look pretty racy in the third sector but first and second sector we are going to bleed a little bit. I’ll try to make something happen.

“We’ll try to send some missiles tomorrow and we’ll see how we go.”



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