By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
After qualifying a season-best second and jumping out to a sensational opening lap lead, Daniel Ricciardo saw his day fall apart just two laps into the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Australian ran through debris that was left over from a Turn 1 melee moments after lights out. After holding off eventual race winner Nico Rosberg, Ricciardo relinquished the lead on the long backstraight as his left rear tire began to shred. The Red Bull Racing driver managed to nurse the car back to the pits before rejoining the fight.
With aggressive driving becoming the mantra Sunday afternoon, Ricciardo began to charge back through the field, narrowly missing the podium with a fourth place result, just behind teammate Daniil Kvyat.
The remarkable drive was acknowledged by Ricciardo, but admitted that it came with a wide range of emotions.
“It’s mixed emotions right now,” said Ricciardo.
“I feel that I drove one of the best races of my life, but I’m not spraying the champagne, so it sucks! It hurts! But at the same time I am immensely proud of the way I recovered and the way the team got me back on track.
“We did the best we could. We closed it up. I could see Danny down the back straight in the last few laps. I know I could not catch him.
“Of course for the team it is awesome to finish third and fourth. We should be second, that is a fact, but that is racing. It is unlucky, but it sucks, it really does.”
Still, there’s no doubt the team’s overall package is ramping up its performance slowly but surely, and is now clearly snapping at the heels of Ferrari and perhaps even Mercedes.
“It’s really promising for sure, three races in, every weekend we showed a strength at some point and it’s been s a strength we didn’t think we’d have at this point of the year.
“It definitely feels more like 2014, where we do have a lot of potential. So I’ll keep fighting.”
Image: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool