Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo had “a blast” at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, going from sixteenth on the grid to an impressive fourth place by the chequered flag.
The Australian was extremely pleased to come away with such a great result, after receiving a twenty-five place grid penalty for a number of PU component changes as well as his gearbox ahead of Sunday’s race, seeing him start towards the back end of the grid.
“I’m very, very happy about the result and loved it out there today. It was good fun. Two of my favourite races this year have been starting from the back. Silverstone and this one.”
The ‘honey badger’ is always at his happiest when he can get stuck into the action, and yesterday’s race was filled with plenty of that for the Red Bull driver, as he battled his way through the field.
Using an alternative strategy was key for Ricciardo, having chosen to start the race on the soft tyre, meaning he would be on the faster, softer tyre compound at the end of the race, and that strategy very nearly got him on the podium.
The Australian was around ten seconds adrift of Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who was holding third position at the time, with ten laps remaining and was catching the German at around a second a lap.
Although he pushed as hard as he could to catch the Ferrari driver, posting the fastest lap of the race in the process, there was just not enough left in the tank to capture that final podium place. Nevertheless, Ricciardo was pleased with the effort from his crew and of what they had been able to achieve this weekend, despite the penalties.
“Some good overtakes in the race kept me excited and I had some real pace in the end. I could see Seb and the thought of a podium was tempting me, so I was obviously trying to catch him right up to the end.
“The boys did the quickest pit stop and I also got the fastest lap so that’s very cool. You can almost call it a perfect day. We couldn’t have done much more from where we started.”
Although he would have loved to have been up there on that podium in front of the tifosi, Ricciardo’s thoughts have already switched to the next round in Singapore, where the Red Bull package should be much stronger.
“Of course I wanted to be up there on the podium as it looked unreal, but I believe it will come next year. Today has been a really good boost for everyone and we’re looking ahead to Singapore.”