Daniel Ricciardo may have been disappointed to lose second place in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix after a badly-timed Virtual Safety Car period, but that didn’t stop the Red Bull driver offering some entertainment on the podium.
Ricciardo made a rocket start to run second behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton early on at the Circuit of The Americas, with championship leader Nico Rosberg struggling to keep up in third.
Mercedes rolled the dice with Rosberg’s strategy, only to get a free pit stop under VSC when Ricciardo’s temamate, Max Verstappen, suffered a gearbox failure.
Rosberg jumped up to second in the process, much to Ricciardo’s frustration.
Ricciardo eventually crossed the line third, marking his sixth podium finish in the last eight races and tightening his grip on P3 in the drivers’ championship.
The podium interviews were conducted by actor Gerard Butler, who had Ricciardo’s infamous ‘shoey’ forced upon him, only with Red Bull in place of champagne.
“Gerard told me he doesn’t drink alcohol, so we had to figure something out,” Ricciardo told NBCSN after the race.
“Then one of the boys threw Red Bull up. Much to his dismay, he did it.”
Ricciardo then turned on his Texan accent, something he had broken out intermittently over the COTA weekend after spending Wednesday working on an authentic local farm.
Ricciardo also broke it out when talking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton after the race, even quoting racing icon and star of Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby.
“I’m not sure what to do with my hands! My friend Ricky Bobby said- oh that’s too much!” Ricciardo said, before returning to his usual speaking voice.
“Yeah the VSC was frustrating. I expressed some frustration. It’s a good rule in many respects, but it hurts when it has that on you.
“Nico gained about 10 seconds on us. That’s an eternity in racing terms. Especially as it’s a Mercedes.
“That made it a bit stationary at the end. Even if he caught me he would have made it interesting. Cool place, cool podium, cool anthem. I live for that stuff.
“We had Nico’s pace. That’s encouraging. We’ll do what we can in the next few. Another big bag of points. Just me and Seb [Vettel] out there but we gained a little on Ferrari.”
Ricciardo then offered yet more science on the shoey, believing that the Red Bull energy drink will have eased the taste of his sweaty race boot after a 56-lap run at COTA.
“I didn’t try it! I smelt it. It smelt pretty good. Red Bull has a strong flavor. It killed the bad stuff,” Ricciardo said.
“My foot wasn’t that sweaty. Gerard had a small coronary on the podium, but he recovered.”
Never change, Danny Ric.