After the troubled Saturday that Daniel Ricciardo experienced at the Hungaroring, Christian Horner was pleased with how the Australian rebounded on Sunday, and despite a fall from twelfth to sixteenth on the opening lap, he charged through the field to take fourth.
Ricciardo made relatively quick work of those in the midfield as he showed the true pace of his RB14 after finding himself outside the top ten in the wet Qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver then closing on the battle ahead of him for the podium places.
With Valtteri Bottas ailing in the final laps with old tyres and a damaged front wing, Ricciardo was able to catch the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver with a handful of laps remaining, and despite contact with the Finn that knocked him off track, he was able to take fourth away from him on the final lap, much to the delight of team principal Horner.
“A fantastic recovery by Daniel who actually completed the first lap down in P16,” said Horner. “He made his way through the field with some decisive overtaking and had rapidly moved up to P5 by the halfway stage of the race.
“We then changed on to the Ultrasoft tyre for the final 26 laps and he started to catch the group consisting of Bottas and the two Ferraris ahead of him. After Valtteri and Sebastian had had contact ahead, the wounded Mercedes then hit Daniel when he was attempting to pass him at Turn 1 causing significant damage.
“However Daniel was able to keep going and then pass him for good on the last lap taking P4 at the flag.”
Horner felt Max Verstappen’s retirement, caused by an issue with his engine on lap six, denied the Dutchman the opportunity to challenge for a podium finish, although one of his concerns is whether he can avoid taking a grid penalty when Formula 1 returns to Belgium at the end of August.
“Max had a hugely frustrating day with an engine failure with only five laps gone,” said Horner. “He had made a great start and we knew we had a competitive race car here and would have been in a fight for a podium having seen the pace that Daniel had today.
“It’s enormously frustrating and we just hope not to incur penalties at his home Grand Prix in Spa in a few weeks’ time.”