Daniel Ricciardo has enjoyed his best finish since joining McLaren at the British Grand Prix.
The Aussie Formula One driver finished fifth after starting from sixth on the grid. His McLaren teammate Lando Norris just missed out on a podium in his home Grand Prix, finishing fourth.
“Happy with my first top five of the year,” Ricciardo said after the race. “Took a while, better late than never.
“When I saw Carlos [Sainz] coming in that second stint he caught me so fast.
“I was obviously ready for the fight and the defence but the pace he caught me I thought maybe — if I was a betting man or if I was watching from the outside, I guess he was the betting favourite (to overtake).
“But I certainly backed myself and I wasn’t going to go out without a fight.”
Ricciardo had two pit stops with a fastest lap 1m31.284s on lap 51.
“From a team point of view, it was a good day, with both cars in the top five,” Ricciardo said.
“It’s the first time this year that I’ve had a top five, so I’ll take some positives from that – definitely a good day.
“I did struggle with outright pace. There were parts of the race where I felt I couldn’t do that much more, so I’ve still got areas to work on with myself, and getting the car more to my liking, but nonetheless it was good to hold off Carlos [Sainz].
“He was a lot quicker! He caught me extremely quickly and I knew that if I was mistake-free, I’d have half-a-chance. From that point of view, I’m super happy to end up fifth.
“Finally, it was great to see so many fans back in the stands here today. As a driver, it really means a lot to hear them cheering you on. There’s been plenty of McLaren caps in the grandstands too, so that’s awesome to see. I’m definitely feeling the love.”
Ricciardo said his battle with Sainz brought the best out of him.
“I think actually pushing to defend allowed me to stay on the limit a bit more and get a bit more comfortable with the car on the edge,” the West Australian said.
“I learned a bit more from that actually so we’ll keep going.
“I definitely need to have a few (good results) in a row. I need to have that consistency now to kind of have a bit more faith in saying that.
“I want to say that and I do feel better but there’s still certainly some time on the table that I need to find and get comfortable with the car.”
Norris had a costly wheel nut issue in one of his two pit stops which might have been the difference.
“A bit of a frustrating race, but also a lot of positives and in the end I’m happy with the result,” Norris said.
“I would’ve loved to have a chance to fight for P3 – the pit-stop meant we weren’t able to, but I don’t really think it would’ve changed the end result. A good job by the whole team and thanks to them for giving me a great car this weekend. Fourth and fifth for us is a great result and now for one more race before the summer break. We’ll keep it up and try to do better next time.”
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl was upbeat about the performance of both drivers.
“We improved session by session and leave the circuit having had a very good day,” he said.
“We have to say sorry to Lando for the issue with a wheel nut at his pit-stop that took away his chance of fighting for a podium. He drove extremely well for P4, as did Daniel, who took a good step forward for P5, and withstood relentless pressure from Carlos for more than half the race.
“There’s a lot to learn from this weekend – we’ll go away and analyse it thoroughly to see how we can improve the next time we try sprint quali. But first, a weekend off, some much-needed rest for the team and then on to Hungary.”
Lewis Hamilton roared back from a first-lap incident that sent championship leader Max Verstappen to the hospital and overcame a 10-second penalty to win the British Grand Prix and reignite his title defence.
The seven-time champion won at his home track to snap a run of five races without a victory and slash the gap to Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship from 33 points to eight.
– with AP
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