Christian Horner admits that Daniel Ricciardo’s second place on the Singapore grid is a bonus after Red Bull banked on securing third and fourth places behind the Mercedes duo
A bad final lap for Lewis Hamilton and a superb one for Ricciardo combined to get the Aussie onto the front row.
Both Ricciardo and team mate Max Verstappen in fourth will be starting on the supersoft, having used it in Q2, making the grid position even more significant.
“Absolutely,” Horner told this writer when asked if third had been the realistic target. “Daniel produced a fantastic second lap, particularly sectors two and three. Quite tricky to string all three together and get the most out of the ultrasoft tyre.
“He nailed it on that second run, so a great performance by him. Rosberg’s first lap was remarkable, he couldn’t get anywhere near that on his second one, which was quite interesting. I think these tyres are so sensitive if you get the right sweet spot, the lap times comes relatively easily.”
The choice of supersofts for the start opens up all sorts of strategic scenarios for the race. Both drivers have new examples of each tyre left for Sunday, including the soft.
“I think the only way we are going to beat them is to do something different. Let’s see what happens. You never know with safety cars, and that kind of thing. Let’s get into the race and go from there.”
Asked if the main target was to guarantee a two-stop rather than three-stop race Horner said: “I think you’ve got to be flexible. With safety cars here you’ve got to plan for all occasions. They were comfortable on both tyres to be honest, so no issues, and we’ve still got plenty of tyres. I think we’ve got all options open, which is good, because not all the teams have that. It’s going to be an interesting race.”
Horner is not concerned about having both cars on the dirty side of the grid.
“I think there are so many support races earlier in the day that it will clean things up. We’ve started there the last couple of years as well. Hopefully we can get a decent run into the first turn, and get our heads down from there.”