Ricciardo 'never doubted' he could beat Verstappen


Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo said he "never doubted" his ability to qualify ahead of new team-mate Max Verstappen for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. 

Verstappen was promoted to the Red Bull team last week while Daniil Kvyat went in the opposite direction to Toro Rosso following an under par start to the 2016 Formula One season. 

However, despite being slower than 18-year-old Verstappen in Q1 and Q2, Ricciardo put in a superb flying lap in Q3 to clinch third on the grid in Catalunya. 

Ricciardo said it was "awesome" to be on the second row with Verstappen as both Red Bull's qualified ahead of Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel for the first time this season. 

"Your mentality is you need to beat everyone so sure my Q2 definitely didn't go as well as [Verstappen's], his first lap was on the money," Ricciardo said.

"I didn't feel we had to run again but obviously the team wanted to play it safe so we ran again and even the second lap in Q2 wasn't great so I knew there was more to come in Q3 but also I knew where the time was and putting it all together would give us a good time.

"The only disadvantage was heading into Q3 with only one set of tyres but I've been in that position before. Sure it creates a bit of excitement and Max had already set one time with a set. 

"You look across at your team-mate but you also look across at the Ferrari's - to get in front of one would have been good but to get in front of both and Max as well it is a good day. 

"I never doubted myself but I felt it pretty late."

Verstappen said he never thought about beating Ricciardo but believes their ability to push each other will be good for Red Bull's competitiveness.   

"I really never thought about beating him or anything like that," he said. "I was fully concentrating on how the car behaved and enjoying every single lap when I realised that it runs so super smooth!

"To know that we are competitive and that we are fine and without any issues, that was all I had on my mind. I believe it is good for the team that we saw today that Daniel and I can push each other. That should be a good signal for the future."

Defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton starts from the front row in Spain while championship leader and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg joins him on the front row.