Daniel Ricciardo has described feeling "angry" with himself over a failure to improve his Q3 lap time during Mexico City Grand Prix qualifying.
The AlphaTauri driver went fourth quickest on the first runs in Q3, having impressed throughout the weekend in the first 'normal' Grand Prix for the Australian since his return in Hungary and subsequent injury layoff.
But the field largely could not find significant improvement on their second flying laps, with Ricciardo hanging onto fourth behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and Red Bull's Max Verstappen but ahead of Sergio Perez and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
"I've felt really good all weekend and we were a well inside the top 10 car," Ricciardo explained to media including RacingNews365.
"I was not happy with my lap [in third practice], so I knew that we could show more than that, but you never know in qualifying and everyone obviously turns it up.
"But I was confident in myself that I could definitely get some more tenths out of the car and in Q1 and Q2, Yuki gave us a tow, just to make sure that we got into Q3 - but then we didn't have a tow in Q3 and we still showed really good pace."
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Ricciardo: 'The gap is as cool as the position'
"Probably the coolest thing is that it wasn't like: 'Oh, they did it, but only because they got a couple of tenths from a tow.' We had raw pace," added Ricciardo.
"Actually the last lap when I crossed the line, I was pretty angry because I didn't improve. I was up in the first sector and then we slowly lost it throughout the lap, so I was like: 'I threw that away.'
"But by the sounds of it, no one improved at the end with a second set of Softs so maybe the track fell away, so that made me feel a little better.
"It definitely helps when you can out in a good first lap, and I knew that first was good, and that it would be hard to get much more out of it.
"P4 is amazing but then you look at pole and two-tenths away and it is not like Max or someone is seven or eight-tenths down the road, so the gap is just as cool as the position if you know what I mean.
"Who knows what it means for the race, but it is not a fluke, we had strong pace and I went through it in my head [on Friday night] that we could maybe be P6 or P7 if everything goes well."