Daniel Ricciardo revelled in taking his and AlphaTauri’s best qualifying result of 2023 after scoring a standout fourth position in Mexico City.

Ricciardo was competitive throughout the three-stage session at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and stunned by scoring fourth place.

While Ricciardo was assisted in Q1 and Q2 by penalised team-mate Yuki Tsunoda providing a slipstream, Ricciardo was more competitive through the second and third sectors, and managed without a tow in Q3.

“Already kind of before the weekend I was feeling a little bit hungry, let’s say? In a positive way, like a chip on my shoulder,” he said.

“And from Lap 1 yesterday, I felt good. Really all weekend I think we were a well inside the top 10 car. I think this morning, we were still there in P9. But obviously I was not happy with my lap this morning. I knew that we could show more than that.

“Q1, Q2, Yuki was great and gave us a tow just to make sure that we got into Q3. But then Q3, we didn’t have a tow and we still showed really good pace. Probably the coolest thing about today was it wasn’t ah OK, they did it but they gained a couple of tenths from a tow. We had raw pace.”

Ricciardo wound up only 0.216s away from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc.

“Obviously P4 is amazing,” he said. “But then when you look at pole, it was two-tenths, it’s not like Max [Verstappen] or someone was seven or eight-tenths down the road. So the gap is just as cool as the position, if you know what I mean.

“We’re really there, and who knows what it means for tomorrow? I don’t feel today is a fluke. I really feel like we had strong pace. I felt with a perfect lap, going through it in my head last night, I thought maybe today we could be P6, P7 if everything goes well. I definitely had confidence we weren’t just a P10 car. But P4 is pretty cool.”

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