Daniel Ricciardo feels he got everything possible from the Hungarian Grand Prix, scoring a surprise fourth place.
Having had a tough qualifying in the wet, Ricciardo found himself starting in twelfth. Luck immediately started conspiring against him as the race began as well, as a hefty knock at the first turn saw him fall as far as sixteenth.
From there he deployed his usual late-braking efforts to fight his way through the field, and towards what team boss Christian Horner felt was a realistic target – fifth place.
In typical Ricciardo fashion he achieved this with many laps to spare, giving fans some fantastic overtakes to watch.
This section of the race was fun, said Ricciardo, though wasn’t without its share of drama.
“We had a pretty good car and I was able to make it to fourth having been sixteenth at one point on the first lap, so in the end it was a good result for us.
“The start was pretty chaotic and I took a hit on my front left tyre which caused some vibrations and we lost a few positions there. Ocon then went really deep in Turn 6, cut the chicane and stayed in front of me for two laps. That was frustrating, especially at the beginning when everyone is so close, you lose a lot of ground.
“After this with the pace advantage we had we were able to get on and do some overtakes, and I had some fun with that and could get up the field.”
Whilst Ricciardo looked fairly secure in fifth place, events were happening further ahead that offered him the chance for more.
Valtteri Bottas, racing in second, came together with Sebastian Vettel at turn two – losing part of his front wing and dropping lap time fast. With a damaged car he eventually fell into diving range of Ricciardo and, when Ricciardo reached the back of Bottas’ car, everyone but the Finn knew what was about to happen.
Ricciardo, finding Bottas on the inside line at turn one, dove to the outside of the corner, leaving a sizeable gap between himself and the Mercedes. In normal conditions it would have been enough, but the ailing Bottas understeered wildly and into the side of Ricciardo, damaging both the Mercedes and the Red Bull. The two carried on until one lap later, when Ricciardo was able to complete the move and take fourth.
Commenting on that contact between himself and Bottas at the first turn, Ricciardo said he thought it was “likely” the Finn would get a penalty, but he wanted to overtake him on track anyway.
“Before the incident at the end with Valtteri in Turn 1, I knew he had some damage, so I knew it should be relatively easy to pass him, but he obviously just went too deep into that turn. I couldn’t see his car in my blind spot so I left room, and then I got the hit but fortunately I didn’t spin.
“I thought it was likely he would get a penalty but I really wanted to pass him on track, which fortunately I could do on the last lap. I was happy today, happy to finish and get some points and have a race I feel I maximized.”