German F1 GP: Ricciardo finishes impressive second as Hamilton streaks to win

Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his 2nd place on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany .  Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
German F1 GP: Ricciardo finishes impressive second as Hamilton streaks to win
Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his 2nd place on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany . Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

A JUBILANT Daniel Ricciardo celebrated his fine second place in the German Grand Prix – his 100th race in Formula 1 – sculling champagne from one of his size 10 Puma driving shoes and thanking his parents.

“This is two weeks in a row on the podium,” the 27-year-old from Duncraig enthused.

“I think it’s the first double podium for us in over a year, so it’s awesome to close out the first part of the season.

“And mum and dad are here. It was my dad’s birthday yesterday. They don’t get enough recognition, so thank you guys.”

The race was led from start to finish by Lewis Hamilton, but Mercedes teammate and polestitter Nico Rosberg had a horror start and was left behind by the Red Bull Renaults of Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

He finished fourth, just 2.3 seconds behind Verstappen, but would have been in third place had he not been victim to a controversial five-second penalty for ‘forcing’ the young Dutch driver off the track on a corner.

Former World F1 champion Alan Jones and other experts thought the incident was of Verstappen’s own doing, but the stewards blamed Rosberg.

Fifth and sixth in the 67-lap race on the fast and brake-intensive Hockenheimring were the Ferraris of Sebastien Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, with Nico Hulkenberg seventh for Force India.

Jenson Button (McLaren Honda), Valtteri Bottas (Williams) and Sergio Perez in the other Force India were lap behind in eighth, ninth and 10th places.

The top cars reached 340km/h along the 4.5km circuit’s main straight, followed by a tight 65km/h corner; average speed for the duration was 202km/h.

Although Verstappen led Ricciardo for the first half of the race, they were on different tyre strategies, with Ricciardo’s pit choosing the best options.

Ricciardo set the fastest lap towards the end and was catching Hamilton by about a second per lap, but finished nearly seven seconds behind.

The Red Bull two-three result has put the team ahead of Ferrari in the Manufacturers Championship and placed Ricciardo third in the Drivers Championship behind the Mercedes pair.

“To beat one Mercedes is nice, but for both cars to beat one Mercedes and the pole-sitter was really good,” Ricciardo said.

“I think I really came to life in the second half of the race and that’s when I was able to show a bit more speed and capture second place.

“For me the strategy worked very well. Drinking out of the shoe on the podium is an Australian thing. It’s called a ‘shoey’.

“Just to stand up there on the podium is the best feeling in the world.”

Team principal Christian Horner was equally delighted.

“A fantastic team performance today,” he said.

“We elected at the first stop to split the strategies, putting Daniel on to the soft tyre and Max on to the supersoft, so they were both running slightly different races.

“To finish up second and third on the podium here at Hockenheim, to have outscored Ferrari and go into the summer break with a 14 point advantage over them in the Constructors’ Championship is a great end to a really strong first half of the year.

“We’ve exceeded all of our expectations. I don’t think pre-season any of us could have imagined to have been second in the Constructors’ Championship after 11 rounds.”