Ricciardo in good spirits despite grid penalty

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Daniel Ricciardo is pleased with his performance in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix today despite knowing that he will drop 10 places on the grid due to a penalty from the last race, and therefore start in 13th place.

A mistake by the Red Bull mechanics in the pits in Malaysia meant that Ricciardo left his box with his front left tire loose on his car. Following a number of incidents over the past few years involving errant wheels, the FIA has clamped down on such errors, and slapped the team with a 10 place grid penalty for Ricciardo, who endured a luckless weekend at Sepang.

After qualifying in third place today though, he has proven that he has the pace to fight at the front and was in good spirits on Saturday night.

“Today was nice, tomorrow will be less nice with the ten place penalty, but I was really happy with qualifying,” he explained. “I think through all the runs and on both tires I was happy with my performance.

“We may have saved one set of tyres compared to the others, so that’s good, hopefully I’m going to need it tomorrow for coming through the pack. Hopefully it will help us.”

For the second time in three races, Ricciardo outqualified illustrious teammate Sebastian Vettel as the German driver languished down in 11th place on Saturday evening. Following the penalty, Vettel will gain a place and start 10th on the grid tomorrow.

“I did the best I could today,” Ricciardo said. “So for that I’m pleased. I think Seb and I will both be charging hard tomorrow and will aim to put on a good race.”

After suffering from such poor luck so far this season, Ricciardo will be hoping to have a trouble-free race in Bahrain tomorrow and score his first points of the season.

Lewis Hamilton enjoys epic trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston earlier this week, a thrill for the driver of a land-speed rocket for Mercedes AMG Petronas to then see actual ones.

In today’s pre-race coverage for the United States Grand Prix, NBCSN takes you behind the scenes of the trip in Houston. You can see that video, above.