Daniel Ricciardo says he would love to see Red Bull target Mercedes in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, but admits that keeping Ferrari at bay is more important.
Red Bull locks out the second row of the grid in Sepang, with Max Verstappen narrowly pipping Ricciardo to third place. The two team-mates are thus sandwiched in between the Mercedes duo ahead and the Ferrari pairing behind.
“I was a lot more comfortable [in qualifying],” said Ricciardo. “So looking ahead to the race that will be good thing, so it is going to be a good one with myself, Max and I expect the Ferraris to have good pace as well. So a good fight for the podium.
“I’d obviously love to target [Mercedes]. For now we will try to keep ahead of Ferrari, but if they are not too far in front of us then yeah we will try keep closing the gap.”
Ricciardo fell tantalisingly close – 0.047s – to Verstappen in Q3. Asked whether he had left anything on the table, the Australian replied: “To be honest, nothing obvious.
“I don’t think I went my best last sector on that last lap, but it wasn’t really any mistakes it was just I got a bit more out of the tires in the first part of the lap and then they weren’t quite there in the last couple of corners.
So just struggled for a bit of traction the last two, and I could just see compared to my lap time I was just losing a bit on the exits, so that was sort of a compromise which I went for. But I think compared to where I was on Friday I am pretty happy. We made quite a few changes over night and they definitely helped me out.
“I was pretty happy with my lap and obviously Max just got me, so I think we’re both driving at a pretty good level.”
Red Bull is currently second in the Constructors’ champions, 15 points ahead of third-placed Ferrari.
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