Daniel Ricciardo admitted he was slightly surprised to secure a double win during the opening rounds of the new Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Oulton Park.
The Australian driver, called into the Carlin team for his first year of F3 competition, had set impressive times at the wheel of his Dallara-Volkswagen throughout the off-season and qualified second on the grid for both races at the Cheshire venue.
The opening race saw him take full advantage of a jump-start for team-mate Max Chilton to secure victory after the pole man was hit with a one minute penalty, and he then took the lead from Walter Grubmuller at the start of race two to secure a lights-to-flag victory and the early championship lead.
“It's the dream start for the first round,” he told Crash.net
afterwards. “To get two wins is the best any driver can ask for and to start like this as a rookie is a great confidence boost.
“I was coming into the weekend feeling quite confident after a good test here and was aiming for a podium. In the back of mind I was thinking of the win but I wasn't sure if I would get it in the first round. To go out there and get two is quite overwhelming.”
Having firmly established himself as a contender for the title, Ricciardo added that he now felt more confident in pushing for victories over the remainder of the year.
“This weekend has increased my confidence,” he said. “Now we can aim for wins at every round. It will never be easy and this has maybe seemed a bit too easy for a first round but I'll keep pushing hard and working with the team to keep doing this.”