Daniel Ricciardo was pleased to play a part in Red Bull’s first double-podium finish of the 2017 Formula 1 season on Sunday in Malaysia, clinching third place after fending off Sebastian Vettel late on.
As Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen swept to the team’s second win of the season, Ricciardo enjoyed a rather lonely race before being hounded by Vettel with 10 laps to go, the Ferrari driver having started last.
Ricciardo was able to keep Vettel at bay with a hard-but-fair defensive move before pulling clear as his rival’s tires began to give way, causing him to drop back quickly.
“I saw Seb was coming, I closed the door a bit later towards the apex. I don’t know how it looked from the outside,” Ricciardo said.
“I don’t know if he was unhappy about it or whatever but it didn’t seem over aggressive from my side, it didn’t feel like I did a real late move or anything.
“From there I expected him to keep coming, keep coming and then I guess maybe kill the tires trying to chase me and then getting close to me.”
After starting the season well off the pace of the front-runners and lucking into a win in Baku, Ricciardo was glad to see Red Bull charge to its best result of the year in Malaysia.
“This double podium is a very positive result for us today,” Ricciardo said. “Obviously Max got the big one and drove well so congrats to him for the win, he drove strong all weekend.
“There were a few extra bits available for the cars here and I think we’re going to try that again in Suzuka. It looks positive for us at the high downforce circuits.”
Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.
Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.
“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”
While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.
His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.
“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”
Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.