Christian Horner is confident Daniel Ricciardo could have gone on to tackle Sebastian Vettel for victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix had he not been caught up in a clash with Nico Rosberg in the closing stages.

A year after a hard fought victory for Red Bull around the Hungaroring, Ricciardo very nearly repeated history as he played himself into contention through a combination of impressive speed, good fortune with the safety car and a savvy strategy that allowed him to use brand-new soft rubber in the final stint.

Indeed, Red Bull's strategy of saving a set of option tyres from qualifying in the hope a late safety car would give him the edge at the end of the race played out perfectly, the Australian well placed in fifth place at the restart and with 20 laps remaining.

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Despite heavy contact with Lewis Hamilton as he moved into fourth, Ricciardo remained in the hunt for glory as tackled Rosberg for second place. However, in his attempts to pass, the two would make light contact, prompting front-wing damage for the Australian, while Rosberg suffered a puncture.

Though Ricciardo was still able to pit and return to the track for a third place finish - his first podium of the year -, his strong pace in the closing stages begs the question of whether he could have cleared Rosberg and gone on to tackle Vettel.

"It's a shame, without that if he had have managed to pass Nico," reckons Christian Horner. "It would have set up an interesting finish with Seb.

"It felt a little bit of a de ja vu at one point from last year and we strategically made the call at the first stop to put the hard tyre on. We felt that our only option would be in the latter part of race if there was a safety car and sure enough we had that new set of tyres left. The safety car came out and it teed it up beautifully.

"Daniel was always going to have a go and obviously got a run up the inside and got in a bit too deep and Nico came across his bows on the exit. It looked like a racing incident."

In a year that has seen F1 criticised for a lack of excitement, Horner believes the nature of the Hungaroring and the disparate tyre strategies showed what was possible.

"I think F1 put on a great show. The talk of changing this circuit; don't! It produces good races here. I think F1 races like that when you get a variable factors, slightly different tyre strategies, you know it's brought the race to life."