When Daniel Ricciardo lost four places on the first lap in Hungary to drop down to 16th, it seemed unlikely that he would go on to celebrate fourth. But the Red Bull star once against demonstrated his overtaking prowess to deliver that result, and it’s one he will savour after being ‘beaten around’ in the early stages of the race.
The Hungarian Grand Prix was a case of damage limitation for the Australian, after a shock exit in a rain-disrupted Q2 left him 12th on the grid. But The Honey Badger is regarded as one of the best overtakers on the grid, and hoped to prove that in the race after revealing on Saturday that he would attempt to ‘pull off some clean moves’.
That he did, but it was by no means easy. His RB14 was lucky to survive a first-lap clash with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, and a few more tangles, including a tussle with Force India’s Esteban Ocon, left Ricciardo feeling ‘beaten around’ in Budapest.
Once he found his rhythm though, Ricciardo produced a string of fine passes to climb up the grid and ultimately finish fourth while also earning the Driver of the Day award – and it's a huge boost for a driver who has retired from two of the previous three Grands Prix.
“It’s nice to finish on a high,” said Ricciardo. “I feel it’s been a few races where I haven’t really been happy, so it's nice to get a good one today. The start was hectic. I got beaten around a little bit and then we managed to find our way through, so that was fun. With Valtteri [Bottas] as well, but got him at the last lap so that felt better.