Daniel Ricciardo promised he would enjoy an attacking race to entertain fans at the Italian Grand Prix, and he delivered just that as he charged from 16th on the grid to finish fourth for Red Bull on Sunday.
The Australian driver was at his aggressive, overtaking best and beamed with pleasure afterwards as he reflected on a stirring drive and the best passing move of the race. He was also named Driver of the Day, as voted for by F1® fans.
His overtake of Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari in the latter stages of the contest earned a comparison to former Formula 1® World Champion Nigel Mansell from Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
It came soon after Ricciardo had pitted to take super-soft tyres and launched his recovery drive – catching Raikkonen and then passing him under ultra-late braking as they roared into the first chicane at the fastest circuit on the F1® calendar.
“That was fun and I had some good overtakes,” said Ricciardo. “I will give Raikkonen the credit – he raced clean and fair, but I would have done that overtake on anyone!
“It doesn't matter who I overtake. I knew it was going to be hard once you got nearer the front because they are going quicker.
“The tyres were feeling quite gooey at one point and I think there was a little contact on the first and second chicanes, but it was great fun for me and for the fans too, I hope.
Ricciardo added with a smile: “I think we will lap the field in Singapore, so we will look forward to that!”
Horner was thrilled after Ricciardo started from 16th due to a grid penalty, before working his way through the field to finish just short of the podium.
“He didn’t have a great start and then he just started making his way through with some phenomenal overtaking moves,” he told Sky Sports.
“He got a bit too much wheelspin and dropped behind so was fighting right at the back of the field. But he got his head down and made an incredible comeback.
“He’s one of the best overtakers out there. His ability to brake late and still make the apex, it was Nigel Mansell-esque.”
Lewis Hamilton won the race, followed by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.