Daniel Ricciardo says he had ‘fun’ during his drive from 16th on the grid to fourth in the Italian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver started down the field after a series of grid penalties and battled back to finish fourth after a long first stint, catching Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in the final laps.
“We were closing on the podium,” says Ricciardo. “At one stage we were catching Seb about a second a lap – 1.1 seconds. At that rate, we would’ve caught him by the last lap. But I think then he was able to turn it up a bit and I was using every bit of my tyres that I could.
“It was fun. I definitely had some really good overtakes. A little bit like the race in 2014, we came through the pack and had some little highlights for the year so hopefully today we created a few more.”
Ricciardo ran a long opening stint on the soft tyres, eventually pitting on lap 38 to switch to the supersoft compound for the final 15 laps.
“It went better than I thought,” says Ricciardo of the team’s strategy. “To be honest, I think there was a little bit of contact in the first chicane, maybe the second chicane as well.
“I guess being in heavy traffic as well, but the tyres were feeling quite gooey, I would say. I didn’t feel like I could get much out of them, but once we cleared a few guys and got clear air we had some good pace. So that was enough to overcut Ocon and those guys. The team got the quickest pit stop, so thanks to them, as that gave us a charge at the end.”
Ricciardo performed an impressive late-braking maneuver on Kimi Raikkonen at the Retiffilo Chicane to take fourth place from the Ferrari driver.
“I’ll give him the credit in saying he raced clean and fair, but I would’ve done that on anyone to be honest,” explains Ricciardo.
“I think especially when you’re coming through the field and have all that momentum, it doesn’t matter who you’re up against. I was aware that the deeper I got towards the front, the harder the overtaking would be as normally they’re going quicker, so the speed difference is normally not as much. But in the end I had blinkers on for the move and happy to pull it off.”
With Singapore projected to suit the RB13 better than Monza, Ricciardo says he is looking forward to the next race.
“I think we’ll lap the field in Singapore, so looking forward to that…”