DANIEL Ricciardo is a very cool man.
The dashing Duncraig driver put in a solid drive in the US Grand Prix at Austin, Texas, early yesterday (Perth time) to claim his eighth podium position so far, cementing his third spot in the 2014 F1 Driver’s Championship.
Before the race, Ricciardo said with four Mercedes-powered cars ahead of him on the starting grid it would be interesting what was in store for him.
‘Keep fingers crossed that it will bring me all the way to the podium – that would be cool,’ he said.
And so it was.
Sporting a carefully trimmed beard and moustache, described as a ‘wolverine-style,’ he qualified fifth behind the twin Mercedes and Williams entries on the fast, flowing circuit.
He lost two places at the start, but quickly rectified that with daring moves on Kevin Magnussen in a McLaren and then on Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, to get back into fifth.
On lap 16 of the 56-lap race, he got past the Williams of Finnish star Valtteri Bottas to edge into fourth, and on lap 33 he moved to third, when Felipe Massa, in the other Williams, stopped for a tyre change.
The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg remained dominant in first and second, and Massa, on fresher tyres, started closing in on Ricciardo’s Renault Red Bull in the final stages. However, the Brazilian could get no closer than 1.4 seconds behind Ricciardo.
Former world champions Alan Jones and Mario Andretti had high praise for the 25-year-old.
‘Your overtaking moves were textbook,’ podium host Andretti said.
Ricciardo responded with his famous smile and said it was a great circuit and a great crowd.
TV commentator Alan Jones said it was ‘another terrific drive by Daniel.
Hamilton’s victory gave him five wins in a row and his 10th of the season, with two more GPs to go.