After suffering heartbreak in Australia when he was disqualified for exceeding the fuel flow limit, Daniel Ricciardo has finally secured his first podium in Formula 1 with a brilliant third place finish today in Spain.
The Australian driver started the race in P3, but dropped behind Valtteri Bottas off the start. However, when Williams went too far into the race before pitting the Finn, Ricciardo got the advantage back and moved into third place once again. He then had quite a lonely race from then on, but eased home to finish in third ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.
He came home almost 50 seconds behind the Mercedes drivers, but he knew that third was the best he could wish for today.
“They were a long way ahead,” Ricciardo said on the podium after the race. “I think coming into the race today, we knew a boring race would have been a pretty good one for us.
“We knew we didn’t really have the pace for Mercedes, and we looked like a third placed car. In the end that’s what it was.”
Ricciardo acknowledged that it was a relatively trouble-free race, and merely about managing his pace and his tires to secure a podium finish.
“We had a pretty comfortable third place, and we just had to focus on getting the tires to two stops,” he said. “Really nice to be on the podium, and I’m sure I’ll get to keep it this time.”
Ricciardo has made a superb start to his career with Red Bull, and with third place is now just six points behind esteemed teammate Sebastian Vettel. The team will now be hoping to make up some ground on Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, but for Ricciardo, finally getting this monkey off his back will mean a lot.