The Milton Keynes-based outfit had featured slightly further down the timesheets in practice, with Williams, McLaren, Force India and Ferrari looking more competitive at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
However, a late improvement by Sebastian Vettel saw him qualify in third place, taking the ‘best of the rest’ title behind the two Mercedes drivers.
The German admitted afterwards that he struggled in the first sector, but he took a few risks on his final lap and they proved to pay off.
It was the maximum possible result for the team, with Vettel seven tenths off pole-sitter Nico Rosberg. However, it was certainly a close fight, as he finished just 0.002 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo will start tomorrow’s race from sixth on the grid. He said after qualifying that his final lap was a scruffy one, but he was still only half a tenth behind his team-mate.
Christian Horner was surprised by the qualifying result. “If you’d have offered us third and sixth in qualifying before the weekend, I think we’d have definitely taken it,” he said.
“An excellent final lap from Sebastian, he extracted the most out of the car to line up in P3 and Daniel is right up there too in P6. All things considered, it was a good qualifying.”
The team’s race pace looks strong, but both drivers will be vulnerable on the straights due to the RB10’s poor top speed. It will certainly be a close scrap for the final podium.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic