“After yesterday afternoon, I kept calm, knowing the real work would begin today. The last time I qualified this well was sixth in Bahrain last year and then I failed to score so, today, I really wanted to show people what I could do. It's great for me to have had a great race, but it's especially good for the team, who have worked so hard for this.”
The result was all the more worthy as Ricciardo had had a prolonged stop for a replacement front wing, following a collision with Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, that may ultimately have cost him a better haul.
“Of course, the early pit-stop to change the nose affected our plans and, towards the end, Massa's Ferrari was looking bigger and bigger ahead of me!” he said, flashing his trademark grin, “So, yes, maybe I could have done even better but, for now, I'll settle for this seventh place.
“From the start of the season, we have had many changes in terms of personnel and it takes a while for that to gel. But, this weekend, it felt like everything clicked into place after the first two race weekends were a bit up and down. Now I expect us to continue getting stronger from here on.”
Team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne had a far less satisfactory afternoon, with his 15th place start – boosted one spot by Mark Webber's penalty – being compromised by a clash with the Australian early in the race.
“It's not been a good weekend, as I did not have a smooth time of it from the start,” the Frenchman sighed, “However, as I said yesterday, the pace of the car has improved in the break since Malaysia, as could be seen from what Daniel was able to do today.”