Ricciardo delighted with top three finish

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Daniel Ricciardo has made an incredible start to his life with Red Bull by claiming the first podium finish of his Formula 1 career at his home race in Australia.

Having qualified in second place, Ricciardo made a good start to hold position behind Nico Rosberg and stay out of trouble to record his first top three finish, fending off the advances of Kevin Magnussen in the dying stages of the race.

In front of a home crowd, it was a very popular result, whilst it came as a surprise to Red Bull after a disastrous winter that saw many write the team off as possible title contenders. On the podium after the race, a beaming Ricciardo expressed his relief and joy.

“Two to three weeks ago, I would have bet pretty much everything I have that we would not be standing up here,” he explained. “Just full credit to the team for an unbelievable turnaround. I don’t understand how they did it, but they did so thank you guys.”

Ricciardo’s result was made all the sweeter by the home crowd that cheered his every move at Albert Park, and he also paid tribute to the retired Mark Webber by deliberately tripping up on the podium, just as his compatriot did in Brazil last year.

“Of course, the Aussie fans! Wow. Completely overwhelming. No words. I’m tripping balls right now.

“I thought I’d do a stack to commemorate Mark as well. It’s an Aussie thing. Really pleased to be up here.”

Interviewee and 1980 world champion Alan Jones summed up the thoughts of the nation, telling his fellow countryman: “You’ve done us all pround.”

Ricciardo finished as the sole Red Bull on Sunday after Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire from the race on lap five due to a problem on his power unit. It also marks the emergence of a new young superstar in the sport as the Australian driver finally proves his ability after two years stuck in the midfield with Toro Rosso.


Ricciardo has been excluded from the Australian Grand Prix due to an irregularity with his fuel system. For the full story, click here.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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