Ricciardo: Austria podium proves Red Bull is catching leaders

Leave a comment

Daniel Ricciardo believes that his charge to third place in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix is proof that Red Bull has cut the gap to leading Formula 1 teams Mercedes and Ferrari across the course of the 2017 season.

Ricciardo started fourth at the Red Bull Ring before passing Kimi Raikkonen early on, and came under pressure from the recovering Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.

Ricciardo was able to hold Hamilton back and finish 1.4 seconds ahead in third place, clinching Red Bull a podium at its home race.

“It’s a relief especially when you’re being hunted, especially at the end of the race,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“I had some sweat coming down in my eyes. Little things towards the end of the race just make it a bit more tricky. So it was just a combination.

“Obviously Lewis has a lot of pace, especially with that car. I was like the odds are probably against me to hold on, but I was kind of relishing that challenge. He got close, but I felt like I defended well. We pushed to the limit but I felt it was still clean and fair.

“Crossing the line, another podium, to do it here in front of Red Bull was special.”

Red Bull had been marooned as the third-fastest team in the early part of the season, failing to put up any kind of fight to Mercedes and Ferrari in the opening rounds.

The team has cut the gap through the season, though, with Ricciardo finishing just six seconds behind race winner Valtteri Bottas in Austria, signaling the progress made.

“That probably outweighs everything else. For me personally, the podium, it’s another awesome trophy in the cabinet, but to be within 10 seconds, and everyone finished,” Ricciardo said.

“Baku we won, but for sure some guys had some issues. We had genuine pace today, on a circuit which isn’t our strongest.

“There’s a lot of positives to take and I’m really happy with the way the team’s moving and for sure it would have been nice to be here in Melbourne, but all we can ask for now is to keep getting better, and we are, so that’s good.”

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.