STARTING on the back of the grid, the British Grand Prix was always going to be a tough slog for Daniel Ricciardo.
He just didn’t expect it to be as much fun as it was.
The fans voted Ricciardo the Driver of the Day at Silverstone after charging from 19th on the grid to fifth at the chequered flag, at one point leaping from 10th to seventh in the space of just over a lap.
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“That was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“I thought with a really good race we could try and get maybe inside the top eight, but I didn’t expect this!”
Ricciardo thought even a top ten was going to be a struggle after he was pushed wide in the early laps, dropping him to the tail of the field.
“I had a really good restart, I passed two cars after the Safety Car,” he said. “I was on a bit of a roll and got a bit greedy, and just tried to go on the outside of (Romain) Grosjean.
“The door was probably always going to close so I was just getting a bit greedy I guess. When you pass a few guys you get a bit jacked up and want to get more!”
The excursion damaged the floor of his Red Bull, but that didn’t stop Ricciardo from continuing his charge into the points.
He sat 10th after his pit stop, using his fresh boots to carve past the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in the space of half a lap, before rushing past Kevin Magnussen half a lap later.
Ricciardo picked off Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault for sixth with two laps to go, which became fifth at the finish with Sebastian Vettel’s late-race puncture.
He too had run a long opening stint on his Supersofts but at no point feared he’d suffer a similar fate to the Ferraris.
“The last few laps of that first stint, the tyres started losing quite a lot of grip on the front,” he explained.
“I never feared they were going to delaminate or have a puncture but I was losing quite a lot of grip.
“In the end we saw — we just had the meeting — the tyre was pretty worn. It probably wouldn’t have done too many more laps, but I didn’t have a strange vibration or anything so I think we still had a few more laps in it.”
The recovery drive ends a streak of five consecutive podiums but nevertheless consolidates his fourth place in the championship standings, rating his race a 10/10 on the Daniel Ricciardo fun scale.
“The whole race felt like it was busy, there was always something going on,” he said.
“I was always passing guys and trying to chase down guys. Felt like I didn’t really rest the whole race and there was always a target in front of me.
“That was a lot of fun, really enjoyed it.”