SHANGHAI, China -- Daniel Ricciardo admits he didn't expect his crew to be able to perform the miracle task of fitting a new engine in time for qualifying after his Red Bull suffered a turbo failure midway through FP3 in China.
Ricciardo was making his way down the back straight at the Shanghai International Circuit when plumes of smoke began pouring out the rear of his car. He parked up in the final sector of the track on instruction from the team, giving his mechanics a little over two hours to get the car back and ready for qualifying.
The Australian said it was touch-and-go as to whether he would get out in time and as a result he certainly wasn't banking on taking part in the session.
"I was obviously prepared [to qualify] but didn't really expect it," Ricciardo said. "With about half an hour to go I went in to see the engineers and said how are we looking? They said it's going to be very tight, get ready, but sorry if it doesn't happen.
"Obviously it was really close and that was literally as quick as we could have got out. We definitely weren't doing it for the cameras.
"It was cool to get out there and very happy to have got it done for the boys as well. They worked their a-- off for two hours and if we had just missed it by a minute it would have been heartbreaking."
While pleased to get out and eventually qualify sixth fastest, behind the Ferrari and Mercedes quartet and teammate Max Verstappen, Ricciardo said his patience is being tested with Red Bull's Renault engine.
This is the second time in seven days Ricciardo has had issues with an engine component after he suffered an energy store failure in Bahrain which forced him into a lap two retirement.
"Unfortunately it's a little bit of familiar territory and the window of optimism reduces over time," Ricciardo said. "We've kind of had our ups and downs the last few years so it's not new to me but I would say that after winter testing we didn't expect to be here in race three. Winter testing looked a lot more positive from the reliability standpoint.
"I try not to set really any expectations on anything now, I just roll with it and hope it all works sweet and if it doesn't it's always going to be difficult to take."