Ricciardo: We looked like a third-place car and in the end that’s what it was

Daniel Ricciardo on the Barcelona podium

Daniel Ricciardo on the Barcelona podium

Daniel Ricciardo scored his first official podium as a Red Bull driver and of the season thus far (he was disqualified from second place at the season opener in Melbourne) and all weekend he was best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes duo. The Australian spoke after the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hopefully the first trophy you’ll be able to keep. Obviously the story of your race, a difficult start, losing the ground to Bottas but then getting him with the undercut first round of stops, then you were Billy-No-Mates, on your own driving around on your own – tell us how it worked out for you…
Daniel Ricciardo: Yeah. Not exactly the start I wanted. I think initially the launch felt OK but we lost a bit of traction after that. Bottas got past me. The first stint I tried to hang in there, had, let’s say, a pseudo-attempt into Turn One. I got underneath him but it wasn’t deep enough to pull the move off and then, yeah, it was just about doing an undercut and just trying to still make a two-stop work. So from then on a pretty lonely race. Unfortunately we’re not going to catch Mercedes. At least this weekend we weren’t going to, so a lonely third was not a bad result in the end.

You finished third but you were 50 seconds behind, what are you going to do to catch these [Mercedes] guys up?
DR: No, you’re right. They were a long way ahead. I think coming into the race today we knew a boring race would be a pretty good one for us. We knew we didn’t really have the paced for Mercedes. We looked like a third-place car and in the end that’s what it was, we had a pretty comfortable third- place and we just had to focus on getting the tyres to last two stops and that was it. Really nice to be on the podium and I’m sure I’ll be able to keep it this time.

Sebastian Vettel went from 15th to fourth, is that encouraging that the car – while not as good as a Mercedes – can slice through the opposition, or a bit worrying because it looks like he might be back up to speed and coming to challenge you?
DR: Obviously it’s the first thing you said. Yeah, really good. I just sort of heard on the radio that he was making progress through the field and when he was in fourth – I think he made a move in the last few laps so really good. I definitely see it as a positive for the team, third and fourth, particularly after his starting position. Obviously Mercedes are the top dogs at the moment but we seem to be settling ourselves nicely in that next spot and I think we’ve just got to now try and somehow creep our way closer. All the talk about Seb, I’m sure that was going to pass very soon and he’ll get to his World Champion form.