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Ricciardo: Victory was for Bianchi

02 Oct 2016

Daniel Ricciardo dedicated a 'pretty emotional' victory in Malaysia to his late friend and competitor Jules Bianchi.

The Australian led home Max Verstappen for a Red Bull one-two, and in the process claim a first victory since Spa 2014 - two months before Bianchi's accident at Suzuka later that year, which Ricciardo admitted had been hard to move on from.

"It's been just over two years since my last victory, and it feels like a long two years - a lot has happened," he said.

"It was definitely a life-changing moment, the loss of Jules, a competitor and a friend. That was hard to take. I would have loved to have won sooner, and dedicated this a bit sooner.

"Since that day it definitely changes [you] as a person, for the better. I've become more appreciative of the things I have and the position I am in. Today I won a Formula 1 race. It's another dream come true - so this one is definitely for him."

Ricciardo also paid tribute to Verstappen, with whom he enjoyed a dramatic on-track duel. Both men embraced in parc ferme, and Ricciardo suggested their hard-but-fair duel had only increased their respect for one another.

"It was fair and clean with Max, it was fun," he said. "That was the best part, I think we both enjoyed it.

"I saw we had an opportunity, and I was very determined not to let it go. I'm sure he would love to be in this position, but he's also honest and fair and I think today we can both hold our heads high.

"We've gained a lot of respect for each other. I think the team is happy with what we've done, it's a  super awesome day - very emotional, but a great feeling."