Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo admitted he was unhappy with the feel of his RB11 throughout qualifying and at once stage feared he would not progress through to the top 10 shootout in Mexico.
Ricciardo will start the Mexican Grand Prix from fifth place on the grid, behind team-mate Daniil Kvyat, but reckons Red Bull struggled for pace in qualifying compared to the preceding practice sessions.
"In practice we looked pretty good and all through qualifying I wasn’t really that happy," he said.
"We struggled to find the level of grip we had this morning and to be fourth and fifth as a team is not bad.
"We can race from there - halfway through the session I wasn’t sure if we would make Q3."
Ricciardo reckons a one-stop strategy is likely to be the preferred approach during Sunday's race but says a good start will be crucial.
"It’s a bit unknown, I think everyone will try to one stop [because] as it’s a new surface it’s not usually too aggressive on the tyres, whether it’ll work who knows.
"Starting fifth: it’s the clean side, but like in Russia, you have to make sure you get in the tow."