Daniel Ricciardo looked visibly pleased with his performance at the Austrian GP last weekend when he went from P13 to P7.
The race went much better for the Australian than last week, where he also started from P13 and had a very good opening lap. After that, he had to accept a “heartbreaking” P13 with a technical defect.
Now he finished 7th in the Austrian GP and said afterward that it had been exactly the tonic he had needed.
Despite that, he also had to look back on two disappointing qualifying sessions where he was eliminated in Q2 both times, watching his teammate Lando Norris move up to P2 in qualifying this weekend. The Briton then finished third in Sunday’s Grand Prix, while Ricciardo seemed visibly pleased with his seventh-place finish, although he was keen to keep his post-race joy to a minimum.
“I’m not going to say I’m not pleased. I’m just trying not to be too low and too high. Obviously, qualifying wasn’t great, wasn’t fun… but I just took a lot more enjoyment from the race. It kept me busy the whole time and just had a good start, a good restart. Then the defense was tricky, but it was a better day.”
The McLaren driver himself said that the key to this result was the recovery on lap 1 and after the safety car restart on lap 4. Ricciardo was in the thick of the action throughout the race.
He did lose P6 to Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) with a few laps to go, but he knows the performance was much better than the previous weekend at the Styrian GP, where a power unit failure kept him from advancing.
“Sometimes you forget – and it’s not racing, it’s an occupation you have in life – that the enjoyment is the most important thing. Obviously bad results do get you down, but today I think I just needed that – I just needed to have fun. To be honest, the position I finished in somewhat didn’t really matter, it was just to go and get in some battles and fight. That was the important thing.”
For Ricciardo, it’s also an “extra bonus” that he came so far ahead on Sunday for the next race at Silverstone, where the new qualifying format in the form of a sprint race will be tried out.
“The result gives me encouragement going into this Sprint Qualifying that we’ve got in Silverstone and knowing wherever I start that race, I have the confidence to start Sunday further up. It’s obviously easier to come through a bit more when you start out of position. But in saying that, it’s normally a mess, deep in the pack. Obviously today it went well, and last week it went well on the first few laps. But you can also get caught in a mess.”