Daniel Ricciardo has spoken of his relief at claiming his second victory of the F1 season in the Hungarian Grand Prix after developing a technical issue mid-race that he feared would force him to retire.
Two months on from his maiden F1 win in Canada, Ricciardo produced a marvellous strategic drive in Hungary, taking full advantage of two safety car periods to make two well-timed pit-stops that would see him emerge in front on both occasions.
Though he would slip back to third position with just 16 laps remaining when he pitted for a third time, his fresher rubber compared with the two-stopping Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton ahead would see him remain well in contention.
Passing Hamilton with five laps remaining with a daring pass on the outside of turn two, Ricciardo wasted no time in pouncing on an ailing Alonso, capturing the lead into the first corner with three laps to go before cruising to the chequered flag.
A result that helps him consolidate his status as 'best of the rest' in the standings behind the dominant Mercedes' of Nico Rosberg and Hamilton, Ricciardo was delighted with his performance.
“I knew the first safety car played into our hands and we took the lead from there,” he said. “We were looking alright but then we got the second safety car, so we pitted again and I lost the lead so I wasn't really sure what was going to happen. We stayed out pretty long on the last stint and I was leading, but I knew I wouldn't get to the end on those tyres, which put us out of position.
“We knew we had to overtake to win the race, but we had fresher tyres at our disposal so I knew it was going to be an exciting finish.
Indeed, the Australian revealed he wasn't convinced he would even reach the end of the race after his Red Bull-Renault developed a technical issue mid-race, Ricciardo reporting back to the team that he was losing power.
“I honestly had a scare in the middle of the race for a few laps because we had some issues which meant we were down on power so we had to be a bit crazy on the switches. I thought the race could have potentially ended early, but we got through that and I am very happy!”
Ricciardo remains third in the overall F1 standings with 131 points, 60 points behind Hamilton but 16 points clear of Alonso in fourth place.