A stunned Daniel Ricciardo was left speechless on the podium after claiming his fifth Formula 1 victory in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, navigating a crazy race that he started from 10th on the grid.
Ricciardo survived three safety car periods, two early pit stops and a red flag stoppage to rise through the order and capitalize on trouble for title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, with both dropping back down the order after dominating early on.
Ricciardo moved into the lead when Vettel was forced to serve a penalty for dangerous driving, and went unchallenged en route to victory in Baku from there, finishing 3.9 seconds clear of the pack.
Struggling to form his words initially, Ricciardo said he only thought a podium was within reach after the restart, only for the issues for the leaders to hand him the race win.
“We know there was a chance of the podium after the restart, but then we heard what happened with Lewis and Seb. It was just a crazy race,” Ricciardo said.
“I made an unplanned stop at the beginning. After a few laps we had some debris in the brakes, so we had to stop and clean it. We dropped to 17th place.
“So did I think then that we could win? Absolutely not. I would have put all my money on it that this was very unlikely.
“A crazy race. This is the race we expected last year, with all the safety cars and all the chaos, and we got it this year.”
Ricciardo’s victory came after he crashed out of qualifying on Saturday evening in Baku, resigning him to a P10 start, but was pleased to make up for it in style.
“Yesterday I was disappointed with the mistake. I knew today would be a different outcome,” Ricciardo said.
“I said it yesterday that we had to stay out of trouble and it certainly paid off today. A big thanks to the team, it was nice to get one car home and on the podium.
“I’m honestly speechless. After the race on the cool down lap, I was kind of just giggling like a school boy.”