Malaysia was one of those races which Red Bull were just not expected to win, and given the characteristics of Suzuka you might have had more hope, but that wasn’t the case in qualifying with Ferrari just edging out Max Verstappen to lock him out of the top four, although will be elevated following Sebastian Vettels penalty.
For Red Bull to say they wanted better than the third row is a big step, considering the troubles of the last couple of years, but the two wins this season have brought the confidence back to the Milton Keynes team. There were no obvious problems during the session, with Verstappen looking the quicker of the two all the way through the hour.
The Dutchman said, “Not such a bad result in qualifying but I think the whole team expected a bit better. We wanted to be in front of the Ferraris, we were very close but the balance of our car wasn’t quite right. In the low speed corners where we are usually very strong it didn’t quite work for us today, this could be the changing conditions but I’m not entirely sure. Staring fourth on the grid tomorrow gives us a chance of a good result so we can still be positive.
“Our race pace looks ok but everyone looks quite strong at the moment so it is quite unknown how tomorrow will play out. It will be hard to overtake here and like you can see from qualifying it is very close, I expect the same during the race.
“If we can have a good start like in Malaysia then we can achieve a good result. We will all sit down and work through this evening to make sure we are as prepared as possible for the race.”
Daniel Ricciardo starts a place behind his younger teammate, which will now be fifth after the Ferrari penalty.