Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed the challenge posed to him by first lap drama on his way to a credible sixth place at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Having started in fourteenth due to an engine penalty, the Red Bull Racing driver was caught up in the incident between Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen at Turn 3, spinning into last place. Fortuitously, the Australian suffered no damage and fought back to finish behind team-mate Max Verstappen.
However, Ricciardo expressed no regret in getting involved in the tight midfield battle, explaining that the start is a great way to gain track position.
“The start was not ideal. It was quite tight and I saw a space on the outside so I tried to get as much room as I could,” said Ricciardo.
“I knew there were two cars on the inside so there was always a risk they would have contact and then come into me. I think that’s what happened but I don’t regret trying.”
“The start is an opportunity to make up a big chunk of positions and as I was nearly at the back I had to try something. Fortunately the car didn’t suffer any damage.”
Ricciardo made a move into Turn 1 something of a habit throughout the afternoon after an early pit stop under Safety Car conditions for a set of soft compound tyres helped minimise the effect of his excursion.
Romain Grosjean, Brendon Hartley, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz Jr., Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez were all passed into the first corner by Ricciardo as he demonstrated his confidence and prowess under braking.
“We just changed the tyres and then I could get on with the race and make some good overtakes, and it was a good race.”
“Every time I was catching a car I passed it as soon as I could and there were some good fights.”
Fights aside, the 28-year-old said he was just relieved to have seen the finish and like Verstappen, believed he extracted the maximum out of the Red Bull.
“In the end, a comfortable sixth. It was nice to see the chequered flag and I felt I got the maximum out of it today.”
His team boss Christian Horner agreed with the notion, complimenting the Perth driver’s fighting spirit in addition.
“Daniel drove a very strong race as usual.” he said.
“He made some great passing moves on the brakes from far back into Turn 1 and finished in P6 which, today, was probably the optimum.”