Monaco podium a 'reward' for Ricciardo & Red Bull

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Daniel Ricciardo believes his third place finish in Monaco was what Red Bull deserved after a better weekend in the Principality.

The Australian had looked set for a dull drive to fifth in the first half of the race but used a similar strategy to race winner Sebastian Vettel by staying out longer than team-mate Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas and setting a series of fast laps, jumping up to third after his eventual pit-stop.

The result followed what was a disappointing qualifying for the man who claimed his first Formula 1 pole in Monte Carlo last year, later blaming his team for "silly mistakes".

“The first few laps were tricky but I’m just happy to be on the podium,” Ricciardo commented post-race.

“Also happy because it’s a reward for myself and the team, happy that we showed pace today and showed more of our potential around these streets.”

Sunday also marked the 27-year-old's second consecutive podium this season and also his third in Monaco since joining Red Bull in 2014, however, it was almost taken away with 12 laps to go as he smacked the barrier exiting Sainte Devote at the restart following the only Safety Car period.

“I touched the wall, that was pretty unexpected because I didn’t brake late or anything,” Ricciardo said explaining the incident.

“I felt like I was quite cautious but as soon as I turned I was like ‘the car’s not turning, it’s not turning’, then I hit it, and I was like surely I’ve damaged the front wing or something.

“So I’m kind of worried about damage then I see Valtteri a little bit in my blind spot, so I’m like, ‘well, don’t let him get passed!’.”

As for team boss Christian Horner, he was equally delighted with the performance of Ricciardo.

“From a team point of view, to have beat the Mercedes fair and square today, to have had good pace when we were in clear air, it has been a great day for the team," he claimed. “We’ve scored a podium not through attrition, just on performance."

As for Verstappen, though he achieved his first race finish in Monaco on Sunday, he was left disappointed after being unable to pass the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas for the entire 78 laps, resulting in a fifth place result.

The decision to be the first of the five cars at the front to pit also bewildered the Dutchman, but Horner revealed several minor factors caused the undercut attempt to fail.

“We could see that the cars were coming up to some traffic, and Max put himself into a great position, unfortunately, we lost about a second through the pit lane, through the stop, the getaway, just the positioning that we are compared to Bottas, the positioning of the car.

“And that would have been enough to, combined with Max’s out lap, to have got the jump on Bottas,” he said.

 

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