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.

UPDATE: RICCIARDO EXCLUDED (09:13 ET)

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

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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