Ricciardo punts at doubters after leading midfield in Chinese GP qualifying

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Daniel Ricciardo took a dig at his doubters after claiming seventh place on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.

After a tough start to life at Renault, the Australian finally achieved Q3 for the first time and led the midfield, beating teammate Nico Hulkenberg by just 0.004s on his final lap.

Later, Ricciardo responded to those who have questioned his performance by insisting he still knows what he is doing.

“It’s only the third race. I think some people are thinking we’ve had half a season already. It hasn’t been that long,” he was quoted by PlanetF1.

“I haven’t done anything that makes me forget how to drive. I know it’s been a long time since I was on a podium, but I still remember what to do. [People] just need a bit of patience.

“When you’re at the top level in any sport, people always have the expectation that you should be at the top every single day. For a lot of people, it’s short term [memory].”

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Indeed, Ricciardo has consistently said it is taking time to adapt to Renault with this weekend showing another step forward in that process.

“This weekend as a whole has been a bit smoother. Yesterday morning, in first practice, I felt more comfortable,” he commented.

“I’m not surprised [with the qualifying result] because yesterday I was already in that direction."

In P7, there is also the tantalising prospect of former team Red Bull starting right in front of him on the grid, but the seven-time race winner, including last year in Shanghai, isn't thinking about that.

“On paper, we’re at the front end of our group. The three teams in front of us do have faster cars at the moment, so if everyone has their best race, realistically seventh is probably our best result we can ask for," Ricciardo noted.

“If both cars finish seventh and eighth tomorrow, we’re probably not popping champagne bottles, but I think we’re going to be pretty pleased.”