The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brought another points finish for both Daniel Ricciardo and the Toro Rosso team.
The Australian finished tenth in an action-packed race in which, after a hectic start where he could have been taken out, he managed to mostly stay out of trouble. Only a brief moment of confusion behind the safety car, where his weaving almost caused championship leader Sebastian Vettel to end up in the barriers, undermined what was a decent performance.
“Vettel behind me during the safety car?" Ricciardo mused, "I looked in my mirrors and saw him go through one of the polystyrene boards, but I have no idea what happened."
After a tough start, Ricciardo managed to use the second safety car period to his advantage, when a change of tyres made sure that he finished the race with suitable grip to gain another point for Toro Rosso, taking its tally for the season up to 22. Despite that, however, the Australian seemed downbeat after the race.
“I got a good start, although I had to avoid an accident shortly after." he reflected, "My initial pace was quite good and I could stay with [Michael] Schumacher, who was on the prime while, like most people, I was on the option, but I could not get close enough to pass him.”
“Then, in my second stint, on the prime, I don't feel we got up to speed quickly enough and I was struggling a bit with braking. When the second safety car came out, we pitted again, which was a good call - originally we had considered a one-stop [strategy] - took on new options and the fresher tyre meant I had a better pace towards the end.”
“I'm pretty happy with tenth as I was not expecting points after the early part of the race, but I never gave up and kept fighting to the end. In the final laps, Schumacher was closing in on me again, but I managed to hold him off.”
Of course, Ricciardo will have had an extra edge in holding off Schumacher at the end of the race, as he did exactly the same thing at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix, and if that relived moment was not coincidental enough, they finished with almost the exact time gap between each other from the race at Suzuka. just 0.7 seconds apart.
by Cameron Paterson