Daniel Ricciardo says he "never doubted" the fact he could outqualify Max Verstappen in Spain as Red Bull secured a surprise lockout of the second row.
New teammate Verstappen was faster than Ricciardo in Q1 and Q2 and spent much of the final session between the two Mercedes drivers after Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on his initial run. Ricciardo only completed one lap in the session but nailed it with a brilliant 1:22.680, four tenths quicker than the 18-year-old alongside him.
Ricciardo says patience was the key to ensuring he was the lead Red Bull driver on the grid.
"First I'm really happy to be back here in this press conference and will try to be here tomorrow," the Australian said after qualifying. "I'm really happy to be in front of both Ferraris and Max as well. We are both on the second row which is pretty awesome. We chipped away at it and it took a bit of time to come. In Q3 I only had one lap and I knew I had the pace and where I could do it was just a case of putting it all together. Before that I hadn't really put it all together but Q3 is where it counts so I'm really happy."
Despite the presence of F1's hottest commodity alongside him Ricciardo says he felt no extra pressure to a normal qualifying session and admits he was surprised to see both Red Bulls outpace the Ferraris.
"It has been a bit different this weekend. Not so much from what I've been doing as my side of the garage hasn't changed but there has been a bit more attention surrounding the team. I've got another guy opposite me who is doing very well. We've locked out the second row of the grid so I'm really happy to be here but for both of us to be in front of Ferrari on the second row.
"I thought maybe one of us could sneak in and a get a P4 and split the Ferraris but for both of us to be in front is really cool. We know from the start Max is quick and has shown that throughout as well as yesterday. It has been a good start to the year and a good start to this weekend.
Asked if there was added motivation to beat Verstappen, he said: "Your mentality is you need to beat everyone so sure my Q2 definitely didn't go as well as his, his first lap was on the money, I didn't feel we had to run again but obviously the team wanted to play it safe so we ran again and even the second lap in Q2 wasn't great so I knew there was more to come in Q3 but also I knew where the time was and putting it all together would give us a good time.
"The only disadvantage was heading into Q3 with only one set of tyres but I've been in that position before. Sure it creates a bit of excitement and Max had already set one time with a set. You look across at your team-mate but you also look across at the Ferraris -- to get in front of one would have been good but to get in front of both and Max as well it is a good day. I never doubted myself but I felt it pretty late."