Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says he was smiling inside his cockpit when Sergio Perez conceded third position late on at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to serve a pit stop.
Perez and Racing Point opted for the Soft tyres for the final handful of laps, coming into the pits under a Safety Car period that was deployed following Max Verstappen’s retirement.
Ricciardo inherited third as he didn’t make a second stop, deciding to go to the end of the race on his old, Hard tyres.
The decision to prioritise track position over fresh tyres proved to be the right one, as the Australian crossed the line to take his second podium in three races.
“I’m not going to take this for granted,” Ricciardo said. “It’s the second in three races but I’m excited as I was in Nurburgring.
“It was a bit more unexpected, this one. We were running P5 with roughly 15 laps to go I think and then there was the issue with Max that brought out the Safety Car so that put me in fourth on track.
“Then Perez pitted, which I was obviously smiling about because I was like ‘That’s given me third on track’.
“I knew hanging on with the hard on the restart was going to be tricky but I was more than happy to fight for it at the end.”
Ricciardo added that he was surprised to hear AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, equipped with the Soft tyres, was launching an attack on him in the final laps.
“Track position is obviously very important around here, so I think both myself and the team were very willing to keep me out on track and we held on.
“The threat at the end was Kvyat and that was very surprising. I wasn’t sure where he came from but I was told he was on a soft and was coming on strong but held on and just very, very happy.”