US F1 Grand Prix: another podium and another ‘shoey’ for Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo gets another celebrity to taste the bubbly from his Puma - this time actor Gerard Butler. Picture: Lars Baron/Getty Images
Daniel Ricciardo gets another celebrity to taste the bubbly from his Puma - this time actor Gerard Butler. Picture: Lars Baron/Getty Images

DANIEL Ricciardo was on the podium again in Austin, Texas, celebrating third place in the US Grand Prix – and the Perth driver would have had second place but for an incident ironically involving his Red Bull Renault teammate.

The race was won by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with teammate and world championship title rival Nico Rosberg second.

Hamilton led from the start, with Ricciardo slotting into second place and comfortably keeping Rosberg at bay. Further back, Max Verstappen was having his usual duel with Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari until the Red Bull suddenly stopped with gearbox failure.

That brought out the safety car, which allowed Hamilton and Rosberg to pit for fresh tyres.

Ricciardo had already stopped for his new tyres on lap 25 of the 56 and the outcome was that he was leapfrogged by Rosberg.

“So they basically got a free pit stop?” Ricciardo asked the team of his loss of second place.

But it did not faze the popular Duncraig driver who was delighted to do another of his trademark ‘shoeys’ on the podium again and got podium interviewer Gerard Butler to drink champagne from his Puma shoe.

Fourth was Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel and there was an entertaining battle for fifth between Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso in the McLaren-Honda.

Alonso squeezed past Massa when the Brazilian locked a wheel going into a corner and a last lap lunge just got him past Sainz, a move that brought out a touch of Texan from the Spaniard with a loud ‘yee-haaah’ coming across his radio.

Force India’s Sergio Perez was eighth, Jenson Button was ninth in the other McLaren-Honda and the final championship point went to Romain Grosjean in the Haas.

Hamilton has now won four of the five races at the Austin circuit and is now 26 points behind Rosberg with just three races to go: Mexico next weekend, then Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Ricciardo said he was not too disappointed with his result.

“I think we were looking good for P2 but then the Virtual Safety Car didn’t work in our favour today,” he said.

“It’s just cool to be on the podium here. It’s another big bag of points and we at least had Nico’s pace so that’s encouraging and we’ll try and do what we can in the next few days.”

Team principal Christian Horner said the podium finish and an extended lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship were positives.

“Daniel drove an excellent race, he did everything he could, but the Virtual Safety Car, gave Nico (Rosberg) a free stop and track position on Daniel.

“We look forward to next week’s Mexican Grand Prix.”