Daniel Ricciardo said he would have preferred to have finished closer to fifth place rather than seventh in the Russian Grand Prix, but first lap damage to his front wing compromised his afternoon and left him more than eighty seconds away from race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Whereas Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team-mate Max Verstappen was able to make some dramatic early moves to climb into the top five from the back of the grid, Ricciardo was forced to take it slower to get through the midfield pack thanks to the damage to his wing, and he was forced to continue with the missing part of his front wing until his pit stop.
Ultimately, Ricciardo finished 49.435 seconds behind his team-mate, while he was only 17.939 seconds clear of Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team racer Charles Leclerc.
“The first lap was a bit of a mess and there are a few little things I will look back on and try to do better,” said Ricciardo. “Two cars were fighting at Turn 8 and as I went to pass them I was on the marbles, then off-track, which lost me positions.
“I then tried to take the slipstream of what I think was the McLaren but when I pulled out of the tow I hit some debris damaging my front wing. From then on, we had a bit of a limp and my race was pretty lonely.
“I think as a Team, fifth and sixth was probably the best we could achieve from the back of the grid today but obviously I would like to have been closer to fifth than seventh.”
Ricciardo believes taking the grid penalties in Russia was still the best way to go despite having more pace than expected across the weekend, and it gives him hope that he can return to the podium at some point across the final five races of both the season and his Red Bull career before he moves to the Renault Sport Formula One Team in 2019.
“Although we had better pace than expected this weekend I think we still made the right decision to take the penalties and on paper Suzuka, Austin and Mexico look better for us,” said the Australian.
“I may have forgotten what champagne tastes like and I definitely want more before the season is out, so I will do what I can in Suzuka to get that.”