DANIEL Ricciardo is fast running out of driving shoes after yet another of his famous ‘shoeys’ at the Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix overnight.
The Duncraig Red Bull Renault driver claimed a nail-biting third place after a great battle with Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes in the closing laps of Sunday’s 71-lap race on the super fast Spielberg circuit to make his fifth consecutive trip to the podium in the best streak of his F1 career.
Ricciardo made a great start, getting past Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and staying ahead of a hard-charging Romain Grosjean in the Haas to grab third place after the first corner.
Things were not so good for Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who was taken out at the first corner after being collected by Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, which was hit from behind by Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso.
More than 10,000 of Verstappen’s fans had arrived from Holland to see their young hero in action, but barely caught a glimpse of him.
Up front were eventual winner Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes and Sebastien Vettel in the Ferrari, who finished in that order in another superclose finish.
Bottas, his car running on severely blistered tyres, finished just 0.658s ahead of Vettel, with Ricciardo a further six seconds behind.
Hamilton qualified third, but had to start from eighth on the grid after getting a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
He had a torrid time getting by Grosjean and Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon before setting his sights on the lone Red Bull after getting by Kimi Raikkonen through some smart pit strategy.
Ricciardo was secure in third place for most of the race with the sole challenge coming from Hamilton in the closing laps.
The Mercedes got to within 0.9s with two laps to go, but Ricciardo found something extra and went on to finish 1.4s ahead.
Fifth was Raikkonen, with Grosjean next after a great drive in the Haas.
The top six were the only cars to finish on the same lap.
Seventh and eight were the Force India pair, with Williams’ Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll taking ninth and 10th after a great start, improving from 17th and 18th on the grid.
Ricciardo had not planned to do a ‘shoey but podium compere Martin Brundle begged him.
“You aren’t going to deny me, are you?” the former Brit F1 driver-turned-commentator said.
The ever-smiling Ricciardo obliged, winner Bottas fled the scene as he was offered the bubbly but Brundle had a good swig and kept the size 9 Puma for a charity auction.
“I do love a fight,” Ricciardo later said.
“Lewis (Hamilton) came out of nowhere in the last few laps. It felt like the gap was stable and then within a handful of laps he was catching me pretty rapidly.
“I had two laps to go and had to defend which made it a pretty exciting race for me.
“To hold Lewis off, have a fight, defend and come out in front was cool. Another podium is pretty sweet.”
Another spat between Hamilton and Vettel failed to materialise when the two never came close to each other in the race.
After qualifying, the grid compere invited the two to shake hands to put their ‘road rage’ incident in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix behind them, but Hamilton tuned on his heel and stormed off; clearly, no love lost there.
The next round is at Britain’s Silverstone circuit on Sunday.