Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Daniel Ricciardo has “driven faultlessly all season” after taking his first grand prix victory.
Ricciardo won the Canadian Grand Prix by overtaking Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg in the final five laps of the race as the lead Mercedes struggled with power issues. Horner admitted the race in Montreal – where Renault's power deficit was even more evident – was not one he felt the team could win but said Ricciardo's performances all year merited such a result.
“Hats off to Daniel,” Horner said. “The way he's come in to the team this year, the way he's performed, he's grown in confidence and stature and he really deserves this victory.
“I didn't believe we could win this race but the way he's driven, the way he's made his passing moves when he's needed to this year … he's driven faultlessly all season. He's grabbed his opportunity today and I'm delighted for him that he's won his first grand prix.
“It's a wonderful feeling for any driver and it was nice to have Sebastian up on the podium to enjoy it with him. It's a very special day in his life and career and it will probably take a day or two to sink in.”
However, Horner said Red Bull is under no illusions that Mercedes remains comfortably quicker and will be tough to beat in upcoming races.
“Let's not beat about the bush, Mercedes were the quickest car. They ran in to their issues – whatever they were – and we've had issues at other points in the season. They were very, very strong here this weekend. We've still got a lot to do, I think we were 12 or 15km/h slower compared to a Force India or a Williams on the straight and that's where we need to improve.
“But it's great motivation Renault to get the double podium here, to get the first win of the year, it's a fantastic performance.
“If you think where we were three months ago it's an enormous effort from all the team in Milton Keynes, all the team in Viry [Renault Sport headquarters]; everybody doing their bit to get us in position to not only win the race but have two cars on the podium.”