Fourth and fifth places on the starting grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix are results that few – both within the Red Bull Racing camp and outside the team – would have predicted in qualifying on Saturday.
That’s exactly what was achieved, with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat completing the top-five to mark a significant improvement for the Milton Keynes squad after a troubled opening round in Australia two weeks ago.
While the gap to the frontrunning Mercedes’ was no doubt pegged somewhat due to the rain-affected session, the RB11s still showed improved pace in dry conditions over the preceding three practice sessions.
“We’ve always gone pretty well in the wet and there are still some things we can improve, but fourth is a good result for the team,” Ricciardo said after qualifying.
“The second row is a good starting position and we should hopefully have some battles tomorrow.
“We’re behind Mercedes and Ferrari, but we are ahead of the Williams and the conditions were tricky, so that’s good, step by step we are improving and heading in the right direction. Tyre degradation will be high, so it will probably be a three-stop race tomorrow. If we can finish in the top four, that will be good.”
Teammate Kvyat equalled the best qualifying performance of his Formula 1 career and will start from the third row of the grid for Sunday’s 56-lap race.
“It was a decent qualifying for us, fourth and fifth is good for the team but I think on our lap we maybe went out a little early, it might have been better later on but it’s hard always to know with the conditions,” the Russian youngster said.
“Overall, there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and we are seeing some improvements, it’s a good start.”
Image via Infiniti Red Bull Racing