Daniel Ricciardo was one of the stars of the Italian Grand Prix, as the Red Bull driver displayed his gutsy and shrewd race craft on a number of occasions – but few will have thrilled fans more than his move on Sergio Perez early in the race and then his ambush on Kimi Raikkonen midway through the race.
His move on Perez was the equivalent of football’s ‘step-over’ as he stalked the Force India driver through the Curva Grande, went one way and then jinxed the other way to steal sixth place from the Mexican.
Then around the halfway mark the Australian came upon Raikkonen, granted he was on fresh Pirelli supersofts with the Ferrari driver on older softs, but Ricciardo pounced from a long way back as they approached the first chicane and squeezed past to claim fourth place where he stayed until the chequered flag.
With trademark big smile he told reporters afterwards, “We were closing down the podium. We were catching Seb by a second a lap but then he was able to turn it up a bit and I was using all of my tyres. It was fun. Definitely had some really good overtakes. Hopefully we created some highlights for the year.”
“I’ll give Kimi credit for racing clean and fair. But I’d have done the move on anyone to be honest. I was aware the deeper I got towards the front the harder overtakes would be. I had blinkers on for the move and happy to pull it off.”
Although Ricciardo qualified third on Saturday, Red Bull decided to take a myriad of engine penalties (as did several other drivers on the grid) which resulted in the Aussie starting from 16th.
But this failed to deter him, “Two of my most enjoyable races have been Silverstone and today. Maybe we should start at the back more often. When you have the pace obviously to come through the field makes it better, but when you have a fight and can try and outfox your opponents it is good fun.”
“My engineer was telling me that we were catching [Vettel] at the end. At one second a lap we were going to get really close, but then he was able to turn up the pace and I was using every bit of my Pirelli tire that I could. In the end there was nothing else I could do.”
“We always say Monza is a weak circuit, but we tend to have really good races here. If we are having a rebirth, Singapore will be a big action for us, hopefully we have a big baby there in terms of a trophy,” added Ricciardo who lies fourth in the drivers’ championship standings after 13 rounds.
— F1Writers™ (@f1writers) September 3, 2017