Daniel RIcciardo says his superb fourth place for Renault in qualifying for the Canadian GP felt as good as a pole position and is targeting staying ahead of former team Red Bull in the race.
Ricciardo secured his best grid slot since joining Renault on Saturday, finishing just 0.8s behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and a tenth behind Charles Leclerc in the other Ferrari.
The Australian even managed to beat Pierre Gasly, the man who replaced him at Red Bull for F1 2019, as well as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
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“I never thought I’d be so happy for a fourth place in qualifying; it feels like a pole position!” said Ricciardo. “It was so cool when they told me over the radio I was fourth. I’m really happy for the team.”
He added: “Fourth has surprised me, yes. It has been coming and we’ve put a string of Q3s now, these last few weekends. So we knew that we should be there, somewhere inside the top eight.
“But fourth? And a tenth or so off third? That’s probably exceeded most of our expectations, for now.”
Ricciardo believes Renault, who are currently eighth in the constructors’ standings, are starting to find their form.
“It’s good, it shows there is something there,” he said. “For sure, with the car, it’s making progress and it is getting better. That’s shown the last few weekends. I think it was always going to come, but it’s nice that it’s come so early on.”
Ricciardo thinks he “has a chance” of keeping Gasly, as well as former team-mate Max Verstappen – who starts ninth – at bay in the race, which starts on Sunday evening at 7.10pm, live on Sky Sports F1.
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