Daniel Ricciardo’s great drive to fourth at the Australian Grand Prix was somewhat overlooked in the aftermath of a race that included its fair share of controversy and drama – but he says he wasn’t far off Mercedes and Ferrari in some parts of…
Ricciardo also set the fastest lap, helped by being the last man to make a pit stop.
“It was good, obviously the P4 is a better result than we expected, so I’m happy with that,” said Ricciardo.
“More than anything I’m happy with the pace we’ve got. Still, as expected, we’re not as quick as Ferrari and Mercedes. But in parts of the race, we were not far off.
“I think we matched them in certain stages, and at the end with the option we were able to do the fastest lap.
“At the end I was having fun, it was good. Even at the beginning we didn’t really make any ground at the start, but we were able to pass cars, and that was refreshing – being able to pass cars around [Albert Park] isn’t always easy.”
Having a ball
While he didn’t quite get the home race podium he so badly craves, Ricciardo did admit that he ‘had a ball’ during the Melbourne race.
“I came on the radio and said it’s just good to be racing again, I’m having a ball out here,” he added.
“Then at the end obviously with the option I was able to put in a few qualifying laps. I thought there was a podium on at a few stages, I was sitting third and second, but I knew we had to pit again.
“I was hoping that Vettel and Lewis would have a bit of a battle at the front, but anyway, it’s not a bad day.”
Ricciardo is hopeful that the team can continue to make progress.
“Genuinely, I think the pace wasn’t bad. Hopefully it’s not a one-off, and I definitely feel we’ve got a good chassis behind us. I think we can keep this up and then by Montreal or something we’ll have a good update.”