Daniel Ricciardo has consolidated his third position in the Formula 1 World Championship standings after benefiting from the early red flag to fix his damaged Red Bull en route to a second place finish.
Starting fifth, the Australian was lucky to avoid serious contact in the turn one incident that hampered both Ferraris and Max Verstappen, only for his car to sustain damage courtesy of debris dissipating from his team-mate on the run to Eau Rouge.
Leaving him with handling problems, Ricciardo was nonetheless given the chance to 'reset' when the race was stopped on lap nine to fix the barrier damaged in Kevin Magnussen's high-speed shunt.
With a repaired front-wing, Ricciardo held station behind Nico Rosberg at the restart and though he wasn't able to match the Mercedes for out-and-out pace, he was delighted to notch up another valuable podium.
“Three podiums in a row, we are definitely making in-roads,” he said. “It is the second race we have finished in front of one of them, of course Lewis started from the back but I think our pace wasn't too bad. I think the real start of the race was after the red flag, so I think we held our own right now.
“Nico had a bit more pace but generally we are making in-roads, which is really positive. Monza will be our most challenging circuit in the second half of the season but then we have Singapore to look forward to and then Suzuka. Really pleased, thanks to the team.
“Three good weekends, it has been fun. Yesterday I qualified fifth but I knew we had a good race car and it proved right.”
Indeed, though Ricciardo doesn't believe Red Bull has the car to challenge Mercedes at the moment, he was pleased with his performance once the car was performing to expectation.
“The car was pretty good. The only time I wasn't happy with the car was the first few laps before the red flag. The incident at turn one sent debris into the front wing and I had some damage so until the red flag I wasn't happy but we changed the wing during the red flag. Then the car was good. Nico had a bit more pace than us but in terms of balance we were doing all we could. I think Nico was controlling it but everything was fine. I don't think we could have done too much more.”
The result means Ricciardo has strengthened his third place in the overall standings, now 23 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel.