Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo had an extremely strong home race at the 2018 Formula One season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne’s Albert Park. Ricciardo started the race from eighth place having been handed a three place grid penalty going into the weekend.
Ricciardo had a great race and went from eighth place to finish the event in fourth place narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
Speaking following the race, Ricciardo commented by saying:
I woke up this morning happy because it’s race day and it’s been too long since we raced so, already before the race I was just happy and smiling. It’s a long wait and in the week leading up to this race, you talk so much about the race and it’s like, let’s just do it. I’m happy with the way I drove today and we had a very fast race car. It’s not often I sit behind someone for most of the race but it’s a tight track and one of the more tricky ones for passing. There were a couple of times I had a look at turn three but Kimi was wise to that and could see what I was planning. Towards the end I applied more pressure on him but he was able to up the pace as well. I think we’re pretty close with Ferrari and our race pace is strong, which I thought would be the case, so we just need to get a few more tenths out of Qualifying and then we should be looking good. Being so close to the podium and getting fastest lap is definitely an encouraging way to start the season. I want to thank all the fans for coming out and supporting us today and now it’s definitely time to go and put my feet up for a couple of days after a busy week!
Max Verstappen had a disappointing race in comparison to his team mate. The Dutchman spun going into Turn 1 on the opening lap and lost out a number of places having started the event from fourth place on the grid.
Verstappen was able to recover during the 58 lap event and went on to finish the race in 6th place and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
The start was ok but I got a bit unfortunate at turn one and ended up in the wrong position so lost out on fourth. I tried to follow as best I could but experienced a few issues with the feeling of the car. I think at about lap four or five I sustained a bit of damage on the car, I’m not sure what from as I didn’t have any contact or hit any curbs hard. When I jumped out of the car I could see some damage and I also think something broke off so we need to investigate what that was. The issue made it hard to hold on mid corner which eventually led to me spinning and then struggling for the rest of the race. Luckily I didn’t lose too many positions due to the spin and still managed to have a battle to the end. It is still really hard to get past the cars ahead as soon as you are within a second. This track is hard to overtake also but when you have limited grip it is extra hard. The car has been running and feeling really good all weekend so it’s a shame to have the damage and then the bad feeling during the race. We are happy to score some points considering the circumstances, as soon as we had clean air the pace was good. Looking ahead I think if we can have a good Qualifying and clean start then everything else should sort itself out in the race and we can be competitive.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing are in third place in the championship on 20 points and speaking following the race, team principal Christian Horner commented by saying:
A strong recovery from Daniel from P8 on the grid to P4 at a track that is incredibly difficult to pass on. I think the only pass of the entire grand prix was the one he made on Nico Hulkenberg. What we could see in the closing stages of the race was that he was pushing Kimi very hard and he had very good pace, demonstrated by posting the fastest lap, which is encouraging for the season ahead. Max’s afternoon was a frustrating one for him. He made a good start initially but then got boxed in on the right hand side and dropped a place to the Haas. He picked up some damage to the floor on lap four or five that compromised the performance of his car quite significantly but he kept pushing and, despite a spin, was able to bring the car home in sixth place, having fought with Fernando for over 20 laps. He was always within a second but had no opportunity to overtake. We also saw some fantastic work from the pit crew, starting the 2018 season as they mean to go on and scoring the fastest pit-stop of the grand prix