Daniel Ricciardo said it felt “surreal” and “ridiculous” to take his first F1 victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.
With the two Mercedes cars hitting trouble – Lewis Hamilton retiring and Nico Rosberg down on power while leading – Ricciardo managed to jump from third to first in the final five laps after passing Sergio Perez and then Rosberg. Having said on the podium that the reaction was “ridiculous” as he was cheered loudly by the Montreal crowd, Ricciardo later said it would take a while for the result to sink in.
“It's still a bit surreal, but really cool,” Ricciardo said. “It's not like we were leading the whole race, so it's not like I had time to understand that I was going to win. It all happened there in the last few laps so I think that's why it has still taken a while to comprehend in my head.”
And Ricciardo pointed to his overtake on Perez – who he had been stuck behind for a number of laps – as crucial to his victory.
“It's really nice, a really good feeling. The race came to life in the end. Obviously Mercedes had their issues and it enabled us to close on them and it was a good fight with Perez. We were really struggling to pass them as they had a really strong car down the straight but he was doing a really good job in the corners as well to keep me behind.
“Then out of the last chicane I got a really good run on him and made the move stick in turns 1 and 2, was close to overshooting it, dropped a couple of wheels on the grass but it was fine”
Despite it being his first victory, Ricciardo was keen to point out that his win had not come through outright pace and that Red Bull still has work to do.
“I think it surprised us [to win so soon], yes, because the pace Mercedes has had all year. As we saw they… Obviously I'm still going to take the victory, don't get me wrong, but they had their issues today which allowed us to really attack but it's nice that we capitalised on that. I think it would have been disappointing if they had their issues and they were still able to get the best of us. At least we capitalised when we could.”