Daniel Ricciardo impressed once again with a superb third place in Monaco, on a day when teammate Sebastian Vettel was an early retirement.
The Australian caught Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps, and chased him across the line. He’s now finished fourth, fourth, third and third in the past four races.
“Could we have done better?” he said. “I don’t know. I felt yesterday that we left a little bit of lap time on there. Where that would have jumped on the grid, who knows. After that, the race itself – the start was not good, not what I wanted. I actually dropped back to fifth and then Seb had his problems, still not sure what, but pretty evident he had problems when he slowed on the straight.
“Then Raikkonen I saw got a puncture under the safety car, so I got third and then pretty much was just trying to maintain the gap behind me to Alonso. Then when I thought there was enough or the right amount of laps left before the end to push and not really save tires any more, I did and went for it. We got close to at least one of the Mercedes at the end but you know what it’s like around here, it’s quite hard to pass. I tried to put a bit of pressure on but third was the best we could do but not a bad day.”
Ricciardo said that keeping the tires in good shape was a priority.
“Everyone was trying to do a one stop today; it’s a bit of a weird one, you don’t really push much of the race because, especially after the first pit stop, we still had a long way to go, so you’re in two minds: do I push or do I just try and hold the guy off and get to the end? By the time we’d got 15, 20 laps to go, I knew the tires were going to last so then I could actually start my race, so to speak, and then start to set some quicker times.
“We caught Lewis, the team said I was going to catch him, the pace was good so I knew I was eventually going to get on to him. Knowing it’s hard to pass around here, I was just waiting to see what happened but I wasn’t just going to settle for third. Obviously in the end I did but if there was a clean move to be taken then yeah, I would have taken it.”
Ricciardo acknowledged that Monaco, with lack of emphasis on power, had flattered the Red Bull.
“I think we closed up a bit here in Monaco which we knew would be our best chance up until now. This circuit definitely suits our package a bit better than previous circuits – we still didn’t finish in front so, unfortunately, it’s still not where we want to be.
“Montreal is still a street circuit but unfortunately the straights go on a little bit longer there so we’re still down a little bit in that area, which I think everyone’s aware of and we’ve made progress. Whether it will be enough by then, honestly, probably not but we are closing the gap so that’s all we can ask for, for now, and just keep chipping away at it and be patient. I’m sure a bit of perseverance as well, and we’ll get there.”