Ricciardo: Eifel GP podium ‘feels like the first all over again’
He made scoring a podium his mission for 2020 and in the Eifel Grand Prix he finally did it, Daniel Ricciardo returning to the rostrum for the first time in more than two years – and giving Renault their first top three finish as a fully-fledged constructor since 2011.
In a race that saw team mate Esteban Ocon retire with power unit issues, Ricciardo climbed from P6 on the grid to take third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, the Australian holding off Racing Point’s Sergio Perez by 1.4s at the flag after a late Safety Car period.
And afterwards Ricciardo, who hadn’t stood on the podium since winning the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, couldn’t hide his elation.
“To be honest it honestly feels like the first podium all over again,” he beamed. “The feeling I have now is like that really happy shock, I guess.”
Amid the emotion, Ricciardo admitted he was struggling to properly remember his race, though he did pinpoint the start as crucial, when he got past Alex Albon’s Red Bull before closing in on Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari for P4.
“Leclerc held on for a few laps and defended well, but then I got him and that set us up. Then Valtteri [Bottas] had a problem and that gave us track position.”
Bottas’s retirement on lap 18 did indeed put Ricciardo in the box seat for the final podium slot, but having stopped early he was then being chased down rapidly by Perez on fresher tyres, before Lando Norris’s stoppage and the subsequent Safety Car allowed both men to change tyres, setting up a thrilling finale.
“The Safety Car restart at the end I was very close to getting Max [for P2],” Ricciardo explained, “but us two tussling meant Perez got very close and I thought he was going to get me into Turn 4. It was pretty stressful, but it’s been two and a half years since I had a podium and it’s really nice, you know?”
The podium is all the sweeter for Ricciardo, who joined Renault for 2019 but will depart for McLaren in 2021.
“When I signed on the dotted line for this Renault contract it was to be up here and get a podium by year two. Obviously next year is another story, I’m moving on, but I think this really does cap a pretty cool story that we’ve had and shared for these two years. And the good news is it’s not over yet.”
Ricciardo’s podium makes Renault the seventh constructor on the podium in 2020 – the most since 2012. It also moves the Australian up to P4 in the drivers’ standings, with Renault now just two points behind McLaren and six behind Racing Point in the race for P3 in the constructors’ standings.
But more importantly, it means Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul is due a new tattoo...
"It’s going to happen," smiled Ricciardo. "We’ll have to do some thinking now [about what design to get], but probably something to do with me, but I think with a German flavour. This is the place we did it so it will have a little tip of the hat to something traditional in Germany as well."