May 10, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Daniel Ricciardo has set his sights on claiming his first podium finish in Formula 1 this weekend after qualifying in third place for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver finished as ‘best of the rest’ behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but his best time was some eight-tenths of a second slower than that of the Silver Arrows’ in front. Without considering this gap, Ricciardo is pleased with his performance today.
“Without putting too much attention on Mercedes, I’m happy with what I’m doing, so I think today was pretty good and I wasn’t too disappointed with the lap,” he explained. “I don’t really see how I could have improved much more today, so I think we’re doing the best we can, but now that we’re around third or fourth I want to close the gap to the silver cars!”
Ricciardo was the sole Red Bull running in Q3 after Sebastian Vettel was sidelined by a gearbox problem. However, without taking team ties into consideration, this could in fact aid the Australian as he vies for his first podium in Formula 1.
“Sorry for Seb, he’s had a pretty rough weekend,” he said. “I prefer it when we are both able to compete. Looking to tomorrow, I think third is the best we can do.
“If Mercedes continue at the pace they had today then realistically we won’t catch them, so then third, although it wouldn’t be a victory, it would be really satisfying.”
Ricciardo did finish the Australian Grand Prix in second place at the beginning of the year, but he was duly disqualified after the team was found to have exceeded the fuel flow limit on his car. Tomorrow’s race could be a golden opportunity for him to make up for this in great fashion and secure his first top three finish.