Ricciardo hungry to return to the podium

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Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has vowed to bounce back from his disqualification at the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, believing that the team is in a battle to be the second fastest team in Formula 1 at the moment.

Ricciardo produced a stunning drive in Melbourne to finish in second place on his Red Bull debut, and became the first Australian driver in the modern era to stand on the podium at his home grand prix. However, soon after the race finished, the stewards found that the fuel flow on Ricciardo’s #3 RB10 exceeded the maximum rate of 100kg/h, and called the team before the stewards.

After five hours of deliberations, Ricciardo was disqualified and stripped of his first podium finish in Formula 1. Although he conceded that it was not the fairytale beginning to his Red Bull career, Ricciardo was still buoyed by the result, and expressed his delight in an interview with redbull.com.

“Yeah – [the disqualification] put a bit of a downer on what had been a brilliant day,” he explained. “It’s not how I imagined celebrating after my first F1 podium. I still went out to catch up with a couple of mates, but it’s fair to say the mood wasn’t as wild as it might have been.

“I did a good job in the car and I got to stand on the Australian Grand Prix podium, and no-one’s taking the sensation of doing that away. What happens next is outside of my ability to control but honestly, I’d rather it went down like this than have retired from the race with a mechanical problem. I’ll take a podium and a subsequent disqualification over that any day of the week.”

Despite enduring a disastrous pre-season period, the team showed good pace in Australia, and Ricciardo is confident that he can reach the podium in the next few races thanks to the potential of the RB10 car.

“We’re in the battle to be the second-best team,” he added. “Obviously that isn’t where we want to be but it’s exceeding our expectations of only a few weeks ago. I think once we really get into the setup of the car, we’ll be able to close the gap to Mercedes.

“Albert Park’s made me hungry to get on the podium again, and I think we’ve got a really good chance of doing it.”

Red Bull confirmed yesterday that its appeal against Ricciardo’s disqualification has been formally lodged with the FIA, although a decision is not expected for at least another three weeks.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”