2 November 2014
F1 United States Grand Prix: Ricciardo fights back for third at USGP
Daniel Ricciardo gave himself a lot of work to do after a poor start to the USGP, but he fought back in familiar fashion to net an eighth trip to the F1 podium this season.
A poor start ensured that Daniel Ricciardo had an eventful United States Grand Prix, but the Australian again underlined his future potential by recovering to a podium position.
Having dropped to seventh place into the opening corner, Ricciardo wasted little time in reclaiming sixth from McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, but the appearance of the safety car at the end of lap one meant that he had to wait a little longer before picking off Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and start thinking about making progress over his original grid position.
The Australian's Red Bull, however, exhibited good pace and he was able to keep in touch with the supposedly fleeter Williams duo until the pit-stop window opened. Ducking in for his first change of tyres allowed Ricciardo to vault Valtteri Bottas for fourth, and repeating the move later on accounted for Felipe Massa, giving him third place on the road.
“I don't really want to talk about the start, except that I feel it was my fault today,” he confessed, “It just didn't feel like I got the procedure right, but I will have to look back and see the ins and outs.
“However, we had good pace and, although the Williams were strong, we used very good strategy to get ahead of them and that paid off. It seemed the longer the stint went on, the more pace we had and I'm really happy with third. I think the Mercedes were a bit out of reach, so third is the best we could get today.
“[After the start,] I think we had good damage limitation. I think I picked a better line in turn one and then got Kevin back in turn twelve so, in the end, we only lost one spot. I think it could have been a lot worse.
“[With Alonso] I don't think that, from memory, the two Williamses [sic] got a great restart so it sort of bunched us all up. We were close and I saw Fernando cover a bit, but it's so wide at turn one, I knew there was a bit more room on the inside. I guess I committed to that already out of the last corner when I knew I was close enough.
“That worked, so that was good, but then Massa or Valtteri cut in late. I was very shallow on the apex and I nearly actually collected the Williams - I'm sure Fernando was watching me and saying 'it's all over here, he braked too late - silly boy!'. It was close, but that worked well and then I think just the undercut worked to our advantage.”
The final step of the podium remained in doubt to the chequered flag, with Massa refusing to let Ricciardo go quietly.
“Felipe was coming, and coming on strong, at the end,” the Australian confirmed, “He came back stronger than I expected - I don't know if he had DRS, but I was driving to the limit down the straights so he couldn't get too much into my tow.
“I think we had him covered pretty comfortably at the end, but he had good pace and kept me honest to the last lap.”
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