Ricciardo finally gets to the podium

Daniel Ricciardo in action during the Spanish Grand Prix, in which he finished third.
Daniel Ricciardo in action during the Spanish Grand Prix, in which he finished third.

His flawless drive in the Red Bull Renault was his first official podium finish in his 55 F1 races ” but it should have been his second.

In March, he ran a sensational second in the Australian Grand Prix, but was disqualified on a controversial fuel sensor-related issue with his car. In previous years, he drove for the Spanish HRT team and for Toro Rosso, before joining Red Bull.

On Sunday, the wide-smiling 25-year-old finished an unchallenged third, 48 seconds behind the flying Mercedes-Benz duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and 27 seconds ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who started from 15th place.

‘We had a pretty comfortable third place and it’s really nice to be on the podium ” and I’m sure I will get to keep it this time,’ Ricciardo said.

‘I was happy. I took a few swigs of champagne on the podium.

‘I enjoyed the race. I didn’t get off as well as I would have liked at the start but then it was just about the strategy.

‘I was maintaining focus and even though I had a big buffer to fourth place, I wanted to maintain intensity and not get complacent.’

His success lifted him from sixth to fifth in the World Championship standings, with a total of 39 points.

Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan, who was the post-race compere, told the vast crowd at the Catalunya circuit that Ricciardo was a ‘superstar’.

‘He’s the young Australian who has breathed new life into Formula 1,’ he said.