Daniel Ricciardo said he was hoping for a fairy-tale podium finish until a late pit stop wrecked his dream in the 2016 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
The West Australian racer finished in a record-equalling fourth place in Sunday’s thriller at the Albert Park Circuit.
He came home 34 seconds behind triumphant German Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg’s Mercedes team-mate defending three-time world champion Briton Lewis Hamilton was second and four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel third.
“Fourth is great,” said Ricciardo. “But I'm probably more happy with our pace than anything else. We finished a fair step ahead of Williams and our competitors so that’s good.”
Ricciardo’s result means he equalled fellow-Australian Mark Webber’s fourth place finish at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix, when he too was racing for the Red Bull Racing team.
It is the best result by any Australian in a home race – and coincidentally Webber was the guest interviewer on the podium following Sunday’s race.
“I’m really happy,” said the 26-year-old Perth driver. “Towards the end, we were in the top three and I had the fairy-tale in my mind.
“But I’m happy with fourth. I’m really happy with the pace -- we finished a fair step ahead of Williams and to come away with fourth in our first race is great.
“We were pretty kind on the tyres and we kept up a good rhythm throughout -- and we passed some fast cars out there.”
He said: “We’ve found a little bit from the power unit and there’s an update coming in a few races.
“I think we can aim for a few more top five finishes in the next races, but we hope for more when the update comes in around Canada.”