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Ricciardo upbeat despite Australia disqualification

21 Mar 2014

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo says he has only positives to take away from the season-opening race in Australia, despite losing his maiden podium finish to disqualification.

Ricciardo was excluded from second place in Melbourne after stewards determined that his car had run with too high a fuel flow rate - a breach of Article 5.1.4 of the 2014 technical regulations, which limits teams to a maximum fuel flow rate of 100kg per hour.

The Australian said the stewards’ decision - which Red Bull are appealing - had "put a downer" on his home Grand Prix, but when asked if there were any pluses to take away from the race he was adamant there were.

“Actually it's mostly positives,” he told Red Bull’s website. “I did a good job in the car and I got to stand on the Australian Grand Prix podium – and no-one's taking the sensation of doing that away.

“What happens next is outside of my ability to control but honestly, I'd rather it went down like this than have retired from the race with a mechanical problem. I'll take a podium and a subsequent disqualification over that any day of the week.”

With Red Bull suffering severe technical issues with the Renault-powered RB10 in pre-season testing, a podium finish in Australia seemed unlikely. Now, however, Ricciardo believes that with the team only beginning to unlock performance from their car, they have every chance of returning to the rostrum again soon.

“Albert Park's made me hungry to get on the podium again - and I think we've got a really good chance of doing it,” he said.

“The work we did in the winter targeted reliability rather than performance. It was only in Melbourne that we got the opportunity to start working on a set-up. The RB10 surprised us by being pretty competitive in the dry and very competitive in the wet. It's going to get much better as we dial it in over the next few races and catch up with those teams that did more miles pre-season.

“At the moment, we're in the battle to be the second-best team. Obviously that isn't where we want to be but it's exceeding our expectations of only a few weeks ago. I think once we really get into the setup of the car, we'll be able to close the gap to Mercedes. Obviously they're going to improve too but I think we're in a good position to make bigger strides.”

From Australia, Red Bull travel to Malaysia and a circuit on which they scored a dominant, if controversial, one-two finish in 2013. On that occasion Sebastian Vettel defied team orders instructing him to hold station and passed team mate Mark Webber for the win.