It was a strong result for Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, considering the Autodromo Nazionale Monza does not really suit the characteristics of the RB12.
The Australian came home in fifth place, ordinarily not a position the 27-year-old would be aiming for, but considering the power deficit the team felt they would have at the “Cathedral of speed”, it was a good salvage effort for the Milton Keynes based squad.
“You hope for a podium every race but realistically, coming here, we thought Ferrari would have an edge on us. We also thought Williams and Force India would be strong and we targeted fifth place.
“I just missed out yesterday in Qualifying but managed to make it happen today and for us to finish in fifth and seventh represents Championship damage limitation here at Monza.”
As is often the case where Ricciardo is involved, an entertaining battle or two will ensue, and that is exactly what happened when the Australian chased down Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the race.
In what was considered the move of the grand prix by many, Ricciardo came from a long way back to lunge up the inside of the Finn at the Rettifilio chicane and snatch fifth place, a move it was clear the Australian was pretty pleased with after the race, his beaming smile being flashed for all to see.
“I was pretty close to (Valtteri) Bottas in the middle of the race and knew I could race hard from that position. It was a really enjoyable overtake (on Bottas).
“I have a three hour drive home tonight and didn’t want to spend the whole journey regretting not trying it. He is a fair racer and had seen me in the mirrors so I knew he wouldn’t turn in, so I had a go. It was great fun and felt nice to come from so far back and make it stick.
“We altered the strategy a bit which meant I had the super-softs on at that stage, so great work by the team to give me the chance to make the move.
Achieving such a positive result in Italy has given Ricciardo confidence that the Milton Keynes based squad can fight for the win at the next round in Singapore, a track which should play to the strengths of the RB12, and one where Red Bull are expecting their best performance of the year so far.
“Our performance so far this season and the result we have achieved here makes me really excited heading into Singapore where I think we can challenge for the top spots.”