Daniel Ricciardo’s first podium of the year at the Monaco Grand Prix was soaked in disappointment, with a sure win going away thanks to a botched pit stop and a hard luck second place.
His second podium of the year, at a similar short track that suits both the Red Bull RB12 chassis and the likable Australian, brought the return of the smiling Daniel we all know and love in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was the only driver to even make a remote crack at the Mercedes teammates at Turn 1, launching strongly from third place on the grid into an attempt at the lead around the outside of the corner.
Problem was, Lewis Hamilton got out ahead in the lead and then Nico Rosberg made it back past Ricciardo for second into Turn 2.
Third was always going to be the best case scenario from there for Ricciardo, and he held off Sebastian Vettel’s late-race charge to the finish en route to third place.
“It’s great to have another podium this year. First one was bittersweet but this one I can definitely enjoy,” Ricciardo said on the podium.
“I’m super happy to be here today. Three years in a row at this circuit. Thanks to the team. We’re continually getting better, and I’m having fun.”
Ricciardo’s third place is his second third place at the circuit after coming third last year, and then winning in 2014.
His result, plus the fifth place achieved by Max Verstappen after his battle with Kimi Raikkonen, has put Red Bull within one point of Ferrari for second place in the Constructor’s Championship (224-223).
Ricciardo expanded on it in a separate post-race interview with NBCSN’s Will Buxton.
“I’m so happy to be back up here. It’s been a while since I’ve left Sunday feeling really satisfied,” he said. “Podium is the icing on the cake but all weekend I got the maximum out of the car. For that, I’m pleased.
“At the time we looked quite competitive. But in the end they were quite quicker. They sucked us into that, but I held Seb behind. Anyway I enjoyed it and it was quite fun to cross the line and knowing I’m back on the podium.
“From my side it was nice to be first out of Red Bull and Ferrari. I felt I did my job. Hopefully this means second in Constructor’s later in the year.”