Podium ceremony and interviews after the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Round 3 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Shanghai International Circuit, featuring the top three: race winner Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), second-placed Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).
Podium interviews conducted by Martin Brundle.
Daniel, what an absolute star. What a race! Your sixth victory, but is that the sweetest one?
Daniel Ricciardo: I don’t know what it is, I don’t seem to win boring races, they’re all pretty fun. That was unexpected. Put ourselves 24 hours ago and I thought we’d maybe be starting at the back of the grid. Firstly, thanks to the boys yesterday. I thanked them after qualifying but today is the real reward for that work. So thank you to everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, the mechanics worked their butts off, so…
And the team had their brain in gear didn’t they, under the safety car, getting you in the pit lane. Double stacked the car twice, so the pit crew were on it as well?
DR: It was hectic. I heard ‘safety car’ in Turn 14, and they said ‘we’re going to double stop, come, come, in the box’. It happened very quickly but very decisive moves, winning moves also from the team, so thanks a lot. Yeah, fat lip and all I got the win.
Just take us through one of the great overtakes – maybe on Lewis? That came out of nowhere down to the Turn 14 hairpin.
DR: Yeah, sometimes you’ve just got to lick the stamp and send it. So, there we go. I enjoyed it very much.
You still made the apex somehow, extraordinary?
DR: Yeah, obviously we had the soft tyre so I knew I could get a little bit more out of the braking than them. A lot of the time you get one chance to try so I made the most of every opportunity.
You were a little closer to Valtteri when you passed him than you are now, but Valtteri, kind of bittersweet. Your 100th start but the safety car didn’t play into your hands and left you on some slightly older tyres and struggling a little bit.
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, you know, the race was going pretty well for us and we were looking strong all the way, until the guys, during the safety car, stopped and we were in trouble then with Daniel and nearly with Kimi in the end. It is disappointing. We were giving everything we had and it kind of felt like we deserved victory… but not today.
Without the safety car, do you think you had enough grip and pace to keep Sebastian behind you and take victory?
VB: It felt like everything was under control so far. I had no major drop-off in the end, so I think we could have done it, but this is racing, these things happen.
Kimi, wow, it looked like you were a bit out of position. It looked like you were struggling a bit. They kept you out a long time before the pit stop. Then the safety car played into your hands and you had great speed and you got yourself back onto the podium.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I think we made a good start and then got, unfortunately, blocked a bit and passed in the first corners. I struggled a little bit following people in the beginning. On my own I wasn’t too bad, but far from ideal at the start of the race and then obviously we stayed very long out. A little bit of luck with the safety car. I had good speed on the mediums but in the end we would have needed the soft tyres to really go for it. But I think I was kind of OK in the end, but once I got close I had much more speed than Valtteri but once you get close it’s so difficult to follow people, to get a good run you need much better tyres to get that proper run and you can kind of offset yourself. But I’ll take what I got, because at one point it didn’t look good at all.
Daniel, I just want to go through the other overtake, when you passed Valtteri into Turn 6, because that looked a little bit touch and go.
DR: It was close. I think it was hard but fair. I saw him defend, so I wanted to go shallower, but then he came a bit more… I thought about pulling out. No, I’m just kidding! I knew there would always be enough room and the tyres had pretty good grip, so worst case I went wide and I’d have another crack somewhere else.