A beaming Daniel Ricciardo celebrated after securing his first podium finish at Suzuka as Red Bull recorded another double podium finish in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo finished third behind winner Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen on Sunday, a week after Verstappen and Ricciardo took first and third respectively at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Australian driver said he enjoyed the race, even though he had little to excite him until Canadian rookie Lance Stroll spun off with a puncture and speared across the circuit ahead of him.
“The race was pretty lonely when I lost out at the start and then lost touch a little bit like last week,” Ricciardo said, describing how he slipped from third to fourth at the start.
“It was just the jump off of the line – and then I was on the outside and didn’t get a good drive on the outside of Turn 2 – and being hung out to dry on the outside and that is where (Esteban) Ocon got the better exit.
“It all started with the initial launch where we lost out. It was something I could have done better.
“It wasn’t that exciting from my point of view, but I then had Valtteri (Bottas) coming at the end, so actually having a bit of pressure made it more exciting. It was good fun!
“This is my first podium here, and my objective today was to get the Suzuka podium, and I have it and it feels great.
“It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed and now with this year’s cars it’s a lot of fun.
“Overall the race was a thumbs-up for me, but I need to look back at the start and the actual getaway as that was what cost me the place to Max and Ocon.
“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.
“We should be able to put up a good fight in Austin and Mexico, and if we can keep this rolling into 2018 then, absolutely, we should be looking pretty good.”