Daniel Ricciardo says his car's "terrible" balance in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix meant he was relieved to start fourth after giving away the four tenths to pole in the first sector of his final lap.
Ricciardo was 0.429s off Lewis Hamilton's pole time overall, but believes he matched the Mercedes' pace from Turn 6 to the finish line after an awful first sector time.
"It was chaos, everyone just had handling issues out there," said Ricciardo. "I thought it was a pretty terrible balance, even on the last lap I don't know how I went quicker – I think I was four tenths slower than my previous lap by Turn 6.
"It was a handful. We didn't expect the perfect car, when the altitude is like this and the grip is nowhere, but that wasn't a great racecar.
"From that, fourth is great – a bit lucky! But, when I see pole is four tenths away – we missed that in the first sector even. It's tricky out there."
Banking on supersoft start advantage
Like in the United States Grand Prix, Ricciardo will start on supersoft tyres on Sunday and believes that's a good strategy which could help him launch ahead of the Mercedes on the long run to Turn 1.
"Hopefully – I managed to get one last weekend, so hopefully we'll get two – and there's Max as well," he said. "It's a long run [to the first corner] tomorrow, and I think [starting on supersoft] worked out for us in Austin.
"I'm alright for the race, but qualifying was weird and confusing. And Ferrari as well, if I'm not happy with my balance, I don't know what they're saying."