MELBOURNE, March 16th, 2014 (F1Plus / Jacob Polychronis) Daniel Ricciardo has delighted the Australian crowd during his home Grand Prix by claiming a career-first podium position in Melbourne on Sunday.
The Australian retained his qualifying position of second place, finishing 24.525 seconds behind the winner, Nico Rosberg and 2.252 seconds ahead of Kevin Magnussen.
The Red Bull driver never appeared capable of contesting victory at Albert Park. Nonetheless, considering the team’s dire situation during winter testing, the result delighted Ricciardo after the race.
“When I look back where we were three weeks ago, definitely [this exceeds expectations].”
“We had never run a race distance until today so we didn’t have much confidence we would see a chequered flag let alone see it in a podium position.”
“Obviously we still don’t have the pace as the Mercedes but it’s a result we will definitely take today and we can make a lot of progress from here.”
2014 is the first season Ricciardo will compete as the only Australian amongst the drivers. The accentuated support throughout the weekend did not go unnoticed for Ricciardo.
“I’ve been really pleased [with the support]. Obviously there’s been a lot of support for me this week but also the support everyone has shown Formula One – it’s been headlines I think every day in the papers.”
“If there’s any doubts the Aus Grand Prix won’t last I think they really put a stamp on that this year and I’m sure it will keep kicking for a while now. So I’m really pleased to be a part of that.”
Regardless of his growing stature in world sport, Ricciardo remains humble as ever and somewhat uneasy with his new-found fame.
“When I flew into Melbourne this week it was a bit embarrassing to see my face on some billboards. The fame is something which guess I will still have to get used to.”
Ricciardo is currently facing the stewards over a potential fuel-flow breach which threatens to spoil his popular result.