Alonso: Ricciardo was very, very smart – a great fight

Fernando Alonso versus Daniel Ricciardo was one of the highlights of an action packed German GP

Fernando Alonso versus Daniel Ricciardo was one of the highlights of an action packed German GP

Fernando Alonso heaped praise on Australian youngster Daniel Ricciardo on Sunday after he held him off in a thrilling scrap to take fifth place for Ferrari in the German Grand Prix.

The two-time world champion battled wheel-to-wheel with Ricciardo as the Red Bull man defended his position and attacked him in the closing stages.

Alonso said: “Daniel is a surprise from Australia. I think [what he’s doing [is] unbelievable. I think he’s seven-three in the first ten races with Sebastian [Vettel], so it’s something we probably didn’t suspect,” he said, referring to the Red Bull drivers’ Qualifying performances.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

“He’s driving fantastically and today he was battling very smart, always taking the slipstream off me after I pass him and braking very late, attacking very late and never missing a corner,” added Alonso. “He was very, very smart, very respectful with the rules and it was a great fight.”

Although the Alonso managed to finish fifth in Hockenheim, ahead of Ricciardo, the Australian lies third in the world championship standings with 107 points while the Spaniard is fourth with 97 points.

Alonso has raced in 226 grands prix and scored 32 wins, while Ricciardo has 6o starts on his résumé an a single win which he scored earlier this year in Canada. (Reuters)