Ricciardo happy to face 'good problems' on way to joint-best finish for McLaren
It's not every day that a driver welcomes pressure, but Daniel Ricciardo said that he was grateful to have had the likes of Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz hounding him throughout the race on his way to a P6 finish in Spain for McLaren, saying he'd given himself some "good problems".
Sixth-place in Barcelona capped off arguably Ricciardo’s best weekend yet for the Woking squad, and it was delivered after the Australian's sensational start put him into P5 for seventh on the grid. That left him with the unenviable task of defending against home hero Sainz and Red Bull's Perez, the latter of whom passed Ricciardo for P5 on Lap 45.
Yet, that was a task that Ricciardo relished, as he explained after the race: "I had some good problems in terms of the start was good, and that got me in front of a couple of faster cars and therefore that meant I then had to defend pretty much the whole race.
"With Checo I was doing as much as I could for as long as I could, and he got me and then I had Carlos for the last kind of quarter of the race or so. We didn’t have the pace today but it was nice to at least hold off a faster car and just put a better weekend together so, personally, I’m happier," he added.
With that P6 finish, Ricciardo put himself seventh in the standings – four points ahead of ex-McLaren racer Sainz – and ensured McLaren retained third in the Championship with a five-point buffer over Ferrari.
Now, after two years away from F1's most glamorous and unique street circuit, Ricciardo is turning his attention to the next Grand Prix on May 23: Monaco.
"Firstly I’m excited to go there. It's been two years," he said.
"It’s a track that you don’t get the privilege of driving, first of all, and to miss it for a year, I just can't wait to go there," he said. "And then we’ll figure it out after that, and it will just be a joy and a pleasure to turn a wheel around there again," concluded Ricciardo.