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.”