Daniel Ricciardo celebrates on the podium after finishing third in the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit
Daniel Ricciardo celebrates on the podium after finishing third in the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit DIEGO AZUBEL

Ricciardo scores career-best ninth podium finish

DANIEL Ricciardo is enjoying his best ever F1 season, racking up his ninth podium of 2017 in Japan on Sunday - the most podiums he's achieved in a single year.

The Aussie finished third behind teammate Max Verstappen and winner Lewis Hamilton at Suzuka on a day where Sebastian Vettel's title hopes took a nosedive after retiring with an engine failure.

Red Bull's two-three finish followed its one-three in Malaysia the week before when Verstappen stood on the top step, making it the first time the energy drink team has recorded back-to-back double podiums since 2013.

Ricciardo said an ordinary start prevented him from challenging his Dutch colleague but he was happy to see off Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas in a challenging end to what was at times a "lonely" race.

 

Lewis Hamilton  gestures toward British athlete Mo Farah after the podium ceremony
Lewis Hamilton gestures toward British athlete Mo Farah after the podium ceremony FRANCK ROBICHON

"Overall the race today was a thumbs up for me. At the start of the weekend I said I wanted to get a podium in Suzuka and I got it," Ricciardo said. "I can't go back on what I said and wish for more, but I need to look back at the start and the actual getaway as that was what cost me the place to Max and (Esteban) Ocon.

"The first 100m could have been better but otherwise the race was pretty lonely in third place.

"As fun as this track is on one lap it's tricky to do much in the race and very hard to follow another car. In the end it was actually nice to have some pressure from Valtteri to keep me pushing all the way to the finish. I felt confident I could keep third place in the closing laps if I drove cleanly and hit all the apexes, which is what I did.

"I'm happy to spray some more champagne, it's my ninth podium of the season which is a new record for me and to be in the position that we are now makes me pretty happy.

"It's really encouraging for the team to have another double podium, both cars are getting to the finish reliably now and we are also quick."

News Corp Australia


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