Red Bull Formula 1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen saw their emotions flip from post-qualifying to post-race in Monaco as the team picked up its third podium finish of the year.
Ricciardo’s usual smiley demeanor was absent after he qualified fifth on Saturday, having felt Red Bull was capable of more, while Verstappen – just one place ahead in P4 – said the result was the maximum the team could have hoped for.
In the race, though, the tables turned. Ricciardo crossed the line third, content to be best of the rest behind the dominant Ferraris, while Verstappen was left irked by Red Bull’s strategy call costing him position.
Verstappen had spent the early part of the race running fourth behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, prompting Red Bull to try and get the undercut by pitting the Dutchman early.
Mercedes reacted just one lap later and pitted Bottas, bringing the Finn back out ahead of Verstappen on-track.
Ricciardo, who had been fifth, was finding more and more time on his ultra-soft tires after being dropped into clear air, while Bottas and Verstappen were left to toil in traffic, losing chunks of time in the process.
Ricciardo came in six laps after his teammate and was able to get back out a comfortable third, gaining two places with the overcut, much to Verstappen’s frustration.
Despite a late-race brush with the barrier following the safety car restart, Ricciardo was able to hold on to third place ahead of Bottas and Verstappen, going some way to make up for his qualifying disappointment.
“I’m much happier today. I can’t obviously complain how it worked out and I have to thank the team. It was cool to show some pace today and we had that clear track,” Ricciardo said.
“I didn’t think the tires had that much more but I just got into that rhythm, was able to punch out some good times. I knew the pace was right, my engineer was encouraging me on the radio saying: ‘Pace is really good. Keep going, keep going!’ That was certainly motivating and my thanks to the homies.
“After the safety car it was pretty unexpected when I touched the wall as I didn’t brake late or anything, I felt I was quite cautious, but then when I turned I thought the car isn’t turning, I then hit the wall and thought I damaged the front wing or something.
“But in the end it was OK. I’m just happy to be back on the podium to be honest. That was definitely the icing on the cake and is a reward for myself and the team.”
Verstappen trotted back to his garage after the race with his helmet still on and delayed meeting the media after the race so he had time to calm down, having felt he had lost a sure-fire podium shot.
“It is very disappointing after such a clean weekend where everything has gone really well to then feel I lost out on a podium, but I guess that is racing,” Verstappen said.
“I tried everything I could to get close to Bottas, you can say we stopped too early or should have gone longer but that is always easy to think after the race.
“Even after the safety car, I was on fresh, softer rubber but with the wide cars and dirty air you can’t make a move and I had no real chance of overtaking here.
“I think I did 77 laps in traffic today, that isn’t much fun and I couldn’t push but at least we finished the race which is the biggest positive from the day.”