Daniel Ricciardo said he is pleased to be earning the respect of the likes of Fernando Alonso following their fight in the German Grand Prix.
Alonso held off Ricciardo by less than 0.1s after a close fight over fifth place in Germany, with the Ferrari driver then saying after the race the he believes Ricciardo has been “unbelievable” so far this season. With Ricciardo asked for a reaction to those comments he said it was good to be able to enjoy such a fight even when it's not for race victories.
“When there is respect among drivers in the paddock and you have a good fight with someone, and it has been clean and hard but fair, it is always fun,” Ricciardo said. “Both drivers take satisfaction – whether you win or lose the battle you still have a sense of satisfaction, if you have been in a good fight.
“To hear it from someone like Fernando, who is a world champion, and let's say a leader of the sport in a way, it is nice. It is nice to get that respect from someone like that, and it is nice to know that what I have learned in my years has certainly served me well, and the race craft that I have learned and now put to work has been acknowledged and respected, it is cool.
“I don't know what else to say – it makes me want to have more battles. It is fun. So if he wants to have another tussle we will both enjoy it. The main thing is we both enjoyed it, that is really important, and we had fun. We weren't fighting for a podium, but still have fun fighting for fifth or sixth is a pretty good day.”
And Ricciardo said it had been his goal to earn the respect of the likes of Alonso once he joined Red Bull at the start of the year.
“There was definitely a few doors open and I wasn't afraid to take them – but at the same time he put trust in me to not wipe him out. We left each other always enough room. The racing was hard but fair. It does go a long way … It is important to know someone can race hard but fair, and nice to have got some compliments from him and around the paddock you will start to earn respect.
“Coming in to the season that is what I wanted to do, I wanted to ... results aside, with this group now, with the drivers that are expected to be running at the front – you want to be among this group of drivers, and I am settling myself in to that in the right way.”