Italian F1 Grand Prix: Perth’s Daniel Ricciardo in top-five

Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull Racing battles for position. Picture: Getty Images
Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull Racing battles for position. Picture: Getty Images

DANIEL Ricciardo achieved his hopes of a top-five finish at Monza after a brilliant overtake of Valtteri Bottas just six laps from the end of the Italian F1 Grand Prix to claim fifth spot.

Starting from sixth place on the grid, the Duncraig F1 star said his Red Bull was unlikely to match the pace of the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Rosberg, or the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen on the fast 5.8km circuit, but thought he might be able to challenge Bottas in the Mercedes-powered Williams.

Ricciardo, who chose super-soft tyres for the final run to the finish, made the move of the race in a daring pass at the end of a 350km/h straight, outbraking the Williams to take the place.

Up front, polesitter Lewis Hamilton had a poor start and was in sixth spot at the end of the first lap.

He fought his way back for to second, but was never going to catch teammate Nico Rosberg, who cruised to a comfortable victory.

In the previous 16 grands prix at Monza, the polesitter won 13 times, but Hamilton, fluffed the start with embarassing wheelspin and was swamped in the rush for the first corner.

It was Rosberg’s 21st career victory, which put him just two points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

Ricciardo remains a secure third.

Red Bull Renault team-mate Max Verstappen was seventh, behind Bottas after storming past Force India’s Sergio Perez with five laps to go.

Then came Felipe Massa in the other Williams with Nico Hulkenberg taking 10th for Red Bull.

‘You hope for a podium every race but realistically, we targeted fifth place,’ Ricciardo said.

‘I was pretty close to (Valtteri) Bottas in the middle of the race and knew I could race hard from that position. It was a really enjoyable overtake.

‘He is a fair racer and had seen me in the mirrors so I knew he wouldn’t turn in, so I had a go. It was great fun and felt nice to come from so far back and make it stick.

‘Our performance so far this season and the result we have achieved here makes me really excited heading into Singapore where I think we can challenge for the top spots.’

The tight street circuit of Singapore Grand Prix, on September 21, is better suited to the Red Bulls. Ricciardo finished second there last year and also set the fastest lap.