Ricciardo leapfrogged by F1 rivals
DANIEL Ricciardo produced a stunning drive on his first lap in the third qualifying session but was then leapfrogged by several rivals as he was only able to end as the sixth quickest driver.
Ricciardo crossed in a time of 1:16.818, only .002 behind teammate Max Verstappen, which means the Red Bull locked out the third row of the grid.
After starting the session on a set of soft tyres, Ricciardo went back into the pits after his first run and the team put more fuel into the car. The fuel load slowed Ricciardo down and meant he was never going to challenge his initial timing.
A decision Sky Sports commentator labelled as "odd" and one the Aussie wouldn't have been hoping for.
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, narrowly edging out teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Sebastian Vettel got the better of Kimi Raikkonen as the Ferrari's claimed third and fourth on the grid and will be hoping for a quick start to get the jump on their Mercedes rivals.
In a positive sign for the McLaren team, Fernando Alonso produced his best qualifying effort of the F1 season as he crossed eighth fastest.
LUCKY DAN WARNED BY F1 ICON
Jenson Button says Daniel Ricciardo is "very lucky" to have so many attractive options available on the 2019 driver market and admits he would like to see his friend join Ferrari.
Ricciardo is out contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and while his current team are looking to extend his stay, Ferrari and world champions Mercedes are also expected to be interested and could have seats available.
And Button, who has kept in contact with Ricciardo since retiring from F1 at the end of 2016, believes the Australian should "go with his heart" but wants to see him at the Scuderia.
"I'm guessing he has the opportunity of going to Ferrari, a possibility at Mercedes and Red Bull," the 2009 world champion told Sky Sports News' Craig Slater. "It's a tough one - those are the top three teams.
"No one really gets that opportunity and he's very lucky to find himself in that situation. He's got to go with his heart and go with a team that feels right for him with the team atmosphere.
"Personally, I'd like to see him in a Ferrari."
But Button has also warned Ricciardo that the most competitive team this year may not be so next season.
"He doesn't want to make the decision too soon but he also doesn't want to make it too late," he added. "Then it looks like he's seeing who was most competitive towards the end of the year.
"Next year is a completely different year and who knows who's going to be competitive?"
Ricciardo insists he has only held talks with Red Bull so far, despite reports of a pre-contract agreement with Ferrari, but is biding his time on making a decision on his future.
'F1 IS IN A GREAT PLACE'
Button may currently be enjoying the "busiest season of my career" as he takes on Super GT and the World Endurance Championship, but he has still been keeping an eye on an enthralling start to the 2018 Formula 1 season.
And ahead of this weekend's Spanish GP, the 38-year-old says it is exciting to not be able to predict a winner.
"The great thing is I couldn't choose between them (Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel)," Button explained.
"Formula 1, for many years it's been one team more competitive than others. This year it's a real mix. You've got Ferrari that are strong, obviously Mercedes are strong and Red Bull on their day can win races as well. The sport's in a great place.
"Everyone loves to see that fight. Whether it's a Mercedes driver you want to win or a Ferrari driver, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that the competition's there and the fight's there.
"And because it's so competitive, people are making mistakes and that's what adds a bit of spice.
"Going into Barcelona, who knows who's going to win? I really have no idea."
This article first appeared on Sky Sports and was republished with permission.