Daniel Ricciardo made his way from 11th on the starting grid to fifth at the chequered flag after a chaotic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – taking home 10 points from the weekend.
The Australian managed to avoid multiple collisions and interruptions throughout the race. His ability to get away quickly at the restarts meant he could fight for a podium finish at one point.
“That felt like the longest race ever. The race start was so late, so it already felt like a long day, and then with all the restarts, it felt even longer,” Ricciardo said.
“The starts were good, and I always made up positions until the last one where I stayed fourth.”
Ricciardo started on the Hard tyre after finishing 11th in Qualifying and being able to choose the compound he wanted. However, this meant he couldn’t use it – as his preferred tyre – at the restart: “I used the Hard tyre for the race start, so we couldn’t really use it for the restart and were forced to go on the Medium, and I think the Hard was the better tyre.”
“So, I couldn’t quite get Esteban [Ocon], and I tried to hold off Valtteri [Bottas] as long as I could. I was surprised how long I held him off, but I think once he let his tyres reset, it was quite hard to keep him behind.
“I defended him one lap, re-passed him, and then he got me. I struggled a bit at the end with the tyres, so I’m happy to have held on to a top five. It certainly makes up for yesterday,” he reflected.
Ricciardo knew that realistically “at best we could have been fourth” and would have taken fifth when going into the race.
McLaren sits fourth in the constructors, behind Ferrari in third place. Ricciardo's teammate Lando Norris finished 10th.
The teams move to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season next weekend, the 10-12 December.