Since Verstappen’s victory in Mexico, Red Bull has been struggling to match the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari. This could be because it has switched focus onto its 2018 entry. But both drivers expressed their frustrations at a lack of pace.
“Nothing in particular in terms of; we were just trying to figure out setup and all that,” said Ricciardo. “So yeah, there was a bit of communication throughout the session to try and understand why we were there but we weren’t as quick as we thought we could be.
“It felt like Q3 run one was a pretty bad lap and I felt like we understood why, so then we put a good one together on that last run and yeah, it was good. We jumped a Ferrari, so the second row is close enough to fight tomorrow.
“It’s certainly an opportunity (for a podium). We’re close. All I need is a good start and then we’re there. We’ll see, once the race settles, how we are. We’re still a few tenths of Ferrari and Mercedes yesterday but a few changes overnight and I think the car will come to us.
“It hasn’t been, for my standards of my wants, the perfect year of Saturdays in qualifying so it’s nice to finish the year with a good lap.”
Verstappen shared his teammate’s point of view, saying that he had needed to make the best of a bad day at the office.
“(The session was) bad,” said Verstappen. “But the whole weekend already I have just been struggling with the car balance and just not happy with it. Sometimes you have those days that you just have to accept that it’s not going to be your day, you’re just fighting the car a lot and I think we still tried to do the best possible job and that was sixth today.”