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Daniel Ricciardo Q&A: Great to taste winner's champagne again!

24 Aug 2014

Daniel Ricciardo has proved himself a master at seizing opportunities in 2014, and as soon as the Mercedes drivers hit trouble in Belgium, the Red Bull star took control of the race. After becoming the first Australian to win at Spa-Francorchamps since Jack Brabham in 1960, Ricciardo spoke about his triumph...

Q: Daniel, your third win of the season - can you believe it?

DR: I can’t really (laughs). It feels a bit surreal again I guess, especially around here - Spa. Everyone was saying ‘you won’t have a chance around here’ but I think we had some really good pace today and surprised ourselves. Another win… it’s very cool.

Q: Christian Horner described it as ‘a roll of the dice’ to leave you out there on that last set of tyres for so long. How much pressure did you feel under to nurse your tyres to the end and still keep right on it to the chequered flag?

DR: Yeah, that was difficult. When you’re the leader you always feel like you’re the most vulnerable when it comes to a pit stop and what to do. But basically Simon [Rennie] my engineer came on the radio and said ‘there are 11 laps left - can these tyres get to the end?’ I replied that I thought we could keep the pace, and we were able to. The last lap I got a few more tenths out of it, so I was having a bit of fun then.

Q: Does it make the victory all the sweeter, the fact that you’re developing every aspect of your racing?

DR: Yeah, I think there have been a lot of good things from the win today. The last two [wins] came from a more, let’s say, aggressive kind of race but today was more calculated. I don’t mean to talk myself up - if it sounds like that I’m sorry - but it was nice to win under different circumstances.

Q: Mercedes seem to be taking chunks out of each other which is only benefitting you…

DR: Yeah, I mean I haven’t seen anything. Obviously I saw some of the aftermath with Lewis [Hamilton] in the gravel, so I was aware they had some contact. Nico [Rosberg] got peppered with a few questions in the press conference about it, so it will be interesting to have a look and get my view on it. But as I say, I haven’t seen anything now and I’d rather focus on the positives of our race today because it was a beauty!

Q: You must have felt under quite a lot of pressure with Rosberg behind you…

DR: Yeah, there was a bit of pressure. It probably looked a bit easier on TV - I had the lead from pretty early on and then just had to control it. We knew in the first stint when we caught Nico that he had some damage. I knew once he fixed his front wing he’d come on and be strong at the end. We couldn’t really rest. When I heard he came in for a third [pit] stop we knew he was going to come charging hard. I was just hoping my tyres didn’t fall off the cliff and stay strong and they did. It was a nice consistent drive and it’s nice to lead a few more laps and taste the champagne again.

Q: You’re the only driver out there who has managed to beat a Mercedes driver, you must be on cloud 9 this season...

DR: It couldn’t have gone better, considering everything, particularly pre-season. It’s been awesome - I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I’m happy to keep it up like this and let it continue. Monza will be challenging but then we’ve got Singapore and suzuka which should be fun for us. We’ll just keep going and if they [Mercedes] slip up then we’ll be there to capitalise.