Daniel Ricciardo was given a fright in the closing laps of the Austrian Grand Prix after being surprised by the speed at which Lewis Hamilton closed him down, but he was able to hold on to take third place and his fifth consecutive podium finish on Sunday.
The Red Bull Racing driver had made a great getaway and made a robust move on Kimi Raikkonen stick into turn three for third, and held his own throughout the race to finish just 6.012 seconds off the win, but more importantly 1.418 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Ricciardo saw off the one move that Hamilton attempted on the Australian on the penultimate lap of the race as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer attacked on the run down to turn four, but what was more pleasing was the fact that Red Bull appeared to have a similar race pace to that seen by both Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari.
“I do love a fight and Lewis came out of nowhere in the last few laps,” said Ricciardo. “It felt like the gap was stable and then within a handful of laps he was catching me pretty rapidly.
“I then had two laps to go and had to defend which made it a pretty exciting race for me. To have good speed around here in dry conditions was a pleasant surprise for us.”
“I had Seb [Vettel] in front of me pretty much for the whole race and I know that his long runs on Friday looked quite a lot quicker than ours so we didn’t really expect to have a similar race pace to him or Mercedes today.
“Just to hold Lewis off, have a fight, defend and come out in front was cool. Another podium is pretty sweet. I enjoyed it up there.”
Ricciardo will be looking for a sixth consecutive top three finish next weekend at Silverstone, and he feels racing around that track in the 2017 cars should be a great experience.
“Silverstone is going to be great with these 2017 cars so I’m looking forward to that and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of Poms out there next weekend,” said Ricciardo.