Daniel Ricciardo: Chinese GP win worth 50 bad days
Daniel Ricciardo says the elation of victory is worth “50 of those bad [days]” after he stormed to victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo entered the weekend having retired from four of the previous six Grands Prix, stretching back to the closing chapter of 2017, including at the prior round in Bahrain.
Ricciardo endured a difficult Saturday as a gearbox problem compromised his run plan in final practice, which concluded in spectacular fashion when his Red Bull RB14 suffered an engine failure.
The resultant component changes left him on the back foot and his car was repaired just in time for him to complete a lap in Q1, and he went on to qualify in sixth position.
Ricciardo maintained his grid position but a well-timed Safety Car allowed him to make a pit stop for fresh Softs, with most of his direct opponents equipped with older Medium tyres.
Ricciardo passed Kimi Raikkonen before profiting when team-mate Max Verstappen went off in pursuit of Lewis Hamilton, and then quickly passed the reigning World Champion himself.
Ricciardo swiftly picked off Sebastian Vettel and seized the lead from Valtteri Bottas into Turn 6, going on to control the remaining laps to take his sixth Grand Prix win.
“We didn’t think we were going to get out in qualifying and, just over 24 hours later… this sport’s crazy,” Ricciardo said.
“A week ago [in Bahrain] I was with my head down after two laps on Sunday.
“I was frustrated at the sport, frustrated at all the variables that are involved in the sport.
“Sometimes I question why I chose this sport because there’s so many other things out of your control and it does get you down a lot.
“But then when you have a day like [Sunday] it’s worth 50 of those bad ones.”
Ricciardo explained that switching to Soft tyres raised his hopes for a podium – before he quickly realised the win was within his grasp.
“I could tell that obviously we had the advantage coming in at the Safety Car and having those softs,” he said.
“I sensed the opportunity. Initially it was ‘OK, maybe now we can fight for the podium’ and at the rate that we were going through the field, and I could feel the tyres were holding on well, then it was obviously fully set on the win.
“Obviously I had pace over all the guys that I got ahead of but you still don’t want to sit behind for too long.
“I saw Valtteri defend but I was kind of committed already from Turn 3 that I was going to try.
“It was cool, it was close but I would say close but fair and it’s cool when you go wheel-to-wheel and I think it’s fun for drivers and it’s good TV so I enjoyed it.