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‘Hanging on’: Ricciardo digs deep in defence to nail ninth

Matt Clayton
Monday, 1 July 2024

Daniel Ricciardo scored points in a Grand Prix for the second time this season in Austria, the Australian making the most of his track position and delivering an error-free race as RB showed signs after an alarming drop-off in Barcelona.

Drained, satisfied and with plenty of repressed thoughts to verbalise; the was Daniel Ricciardo’s Austrian Grand Prix, after the Australian fought a defensive race against faster cars to finish ninth and bank Sunday points for the second time this season on his 250th F1® start. 

After RB brought a raft of upgrades to the Spanish Grand Prix a week earlier that left Ricciardo and teammate Yuki Tsunoda well outside of the top 10, Ricciardo set himself up for a points haul on Saturday when he qualified 11th, but knew that he’d need to get his elbows out and defend with likely faster machinery in his mirrors from lap one. 


After 71 laps, Ricciardo finished half a second ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and less than a second behind Kevin Magnussen (Haas) in a tense battle where one wrong move could have undone a weekend of progress. 

“That was hard-fought, definitely,” Ricciardo said. 

“I semi-apologised to [race engineer] Pierre [Hamelin] after the race. I was like, ‘Yeah, sorry, I couldn’t talk that much today’. I was pretty locked in. It took a lot of concentration and effort. We were a bit more on the defence, a bit more mirror-watching. We were hanging onto the points, just hanging on by the skin of our teeth.”

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Ricciardo, who finished a pointless 15th in Saturday’s sprint, credited the RB pit wall for his medium-hard-hard tyre strategy, which put him in a position to fight against Alpine, which has made significant improvements in recent races. 

“The strategy, the team did well,” he said. 

“We used our two hards to our advantage, pitting early and securing the position over the Alpines. That was important. At the end it took some clean laps [and] Gasly was quite quick on the medium [tyre]. Haas outscored us today, but we got some points [as] a bit of damage limitation, so it’s been a better weekend.”

On the eve of his 35th birthday on the day after the Grand Prix, Ricciardo felt he could kick off his celebrations with a feeling of self-satisfaction. 

“Leaving the Sunday feeling like we got pretty much the most out of it … there are always going to be areas where I can do better and improve, but as a whole we swipe out of the paddock with a smile and feeling like we ticked most boxes,” he said.

“I’ve got to keep that up. It’s a nice feeling to fight and drive a clean race and obviously bring a couple of points home for the team when I think, deep down we’ll look back at our pace and say ‘maybe we didn’t belong in the points today’. 

“I feel like in some parts we overachieved, and we’ll maybe give ourselves a little pat on the back.”

Daniel Ricciardo at the Austrian Grand Prix

Daniel's Austrian Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Sprint (24 laps): Started 16th, finished 14th
  • Race (71 laps): Started 11th, finished 9th
  • Fastest lap: 1min 10.426secs (18th), lap 49
  • Points this event:
  • Points this season: 11 (13th in world championship)