May 24, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Daniel Ricciardo believes that Red Bull has the pace this weekend to keep up with Mercedes, and potentially get into the mix for a race win if drama strikes the Silver Arrows.
The Australian driver qualified in third place behind Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on Saturday in Monaco, but the gap has certainly reduced compared to the first five rounds of the season. Ricciardo finished just four-tenths of a second behind pole-sitter Rosberg, and he feels that he could have gone faster still.
“I think I could have been closer to the front today and I don’t like it when that’s the case,” he explained after qualifying. “I made a mistake in the last run in Q3; we were up and I thought it was going well, but then I made a mistake and lost the time I had made.
“Anyways, there’s no room for excuses here so I’ll just have to learn for next time.”
After scoring his first podium in Formula 1 at the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago, Ricciardo is now refusing to settle for anything less than a top three finish tomorrow.
“I would be disappointed not to finish on the podium tomorrow,” he confessed. “I think we have the pace to hang with Mercedes, so hopefully we can at least get one of them off the line and maybe do something with strategy and give ourselves a real chance of taking a win.”
Given the tension that has brewed at Mercedes today, the possibility of it spilling over on track tomorrow certainly exists. Should the Silver Arrows come to blows or develop problems, Ricciardo could be the man to pick up the pieces and possibly sneak his first grand prix victory.
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