Chilton happy with qualifying display

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Marussia driver Max Chilton has expressed his delight with his first Formula One qualifying performance to Sky Sports.

Despite qualifying eventually being postponed until the following morning, the weather allowed Q1 to go ahead as normal after a thirty minute delay. In his first outing, Chilton qualified in 20th place ahead of both Caterham drivers, and the Briton suggested he may have gone even quicker had it not been for red flags late on.

“For my first qualifying it was pretty challenging, but I’m really happy with it. It was a real shame about the yellow flags as I had to back out and lost a lot of time.

“But we finished ahead of Caterham and that’s what we wanted. The car was a real joy to drive and we’re happy with our job.”

Chilton was also relishing the opportunity of competing in his first race on Sunday, but he set himself the modest target of simply finishing.

“It looks like it will be dry on Sunday and I know we’ve got a quick car in the dry, so either way we’re comfortable. Hopefully we can bring both cars home.”

Teammate Jules Bianchi qualified just in front of Chilton in 19th place, albeit by eight-tenths of a second.

The Australian Grand Prix is renowned for its high rate of attrition, and this could work in Chilton’s favor relying he can get his car to the finish, potentially taking advantage of retirements throughout the race.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.