His flawless drive in the Red Bull Renault was his first official podium 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. He previously drove for the Spanish HRT team and 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 One,’ he said.
The next race is at Monaco on May 25.