Daniel Ricciardo expects more pace as Max Verstappen goes for season-record

Daniel Ricciardo says his McLaren should have more pace during the Mexican Grand Prix, after qualifying 11th for the race.

The Australian was compromised on his flying lap in Q2 in Mexico, driving in traffic and being knocked out in 11th.

He goes into his third-last race with the McLaren needing a solid performance to help his team in their fight with Alpine for fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Ricciardo will also be hoping for a strong finish to the season as he tries to find a new team, more than likely for the 2024 season.

Looking back on qualifying, the Australian said there were positives to take out of the session as they head into the race.

“I think it was certainly promising in some areas and we had decent pace,” he said.

“I think things still look encouraging for [the race].”

McLaren sits fifth in the constructors’ championship, just 11 points behind Alpine.

That gap was originally just six points after last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, but Alpine successfully overturned a penalty imposed on Fernando Alonso which promoted him to seventh place.

McLaren has scored 138 points so far this season, but Ricciardo has only contributed 29 of those.

His best result came three outings ago in Singapore when he survived a weather-affected race to finish fifth.

Verstappen’s bid for history starts on pole

Max Verstappen has 13 race wins this season.(Reuters: Edgard Garrido)

Max Verstappen has an opportunity to become the first driver to win 14 races in a season, after already securing his second drivers’ championship.

The Red Bull driver equalled the record with Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013) last weekend in the US.

The Dutchman will start the race on pole, having previously won in Mexico in 2017, 2018 and 2021.

He has the Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton starting second and third, as both British drivers chase their first win of the year.

Since the Mexican Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 2016, only Red Bull and Mercedes have won the race.

The Mexican Grand Prix will be held on Monday, 7am AEDT, 4am AWST.

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