Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing smiles in the Paddock after qualifying for the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on Oct. 22, 2016 in Austin. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo is the odd man out at the front of the grid for the US GP after he used supersoft tires to get out of Q2, while his teammate Max Verstappen and both Mercedes drivers went for softs.
Ricciardo starts third and, in theory, could have a grip advantage at the start, but he is committed to an earlier pit stop than his rivals.
“Max was wanting to try the soft and I was happy to go on the supersoft,” he explained. “I was a bit more, probably comfortable on that tire yesterday in the long run so that was the reason for that. Hopefully it gives me a little bit of a better launch of the line as well. So, we’ll see. I think the day was pretty good.
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“Not really close to Mercedes but I think we expected them to be very hard to beat, but we’ve got a good buffer over Ferrari and I think the car was working pretty well. I think we’ve got a good chance tomorrow so, see what we can do. We’ll see what happens but hopefully the supersoft gives me a little bit of friendly grip off the line.”
Ricciardo is hoping that if he can get in front at the start, he’ll be able to stay there.
“Yeah, that’s obviously the plan. We will see how tomorrow plays out. The track conditions changed quite a bit today so I think we’re going to have similar conditions tomorrow as we did today so that could have a bit of influence. We did look good yesterday. I’m the only one, I think, on the first two rows that starts on the supersoft.
“Sure, that tire probably won’t last as long but it might give me a bit of an advantage at the start so we will see how it plays out and have some fun. It is a good circuit round here and you can do overtaking and there’s a few corners where you can change your line and do a few little things so it’s not just a one line circuit, there’s some experiments that you can go for so we’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”