Daniel Ricciardo: “The race came to life at the end…”

Daniel Ricciardo scored a hugely popular maiden GP victory in Canada, and while it took a little bad luck for Mercedes to make it happen, the Aussie had to be there to take advantage.

Crucially he got ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel at the final stops, and then passed Sergio Perez with five laps to go. Two laps after that he was able to blast past the Mercedes of a struggling Nico Rosberg to claim the lead.

“It’s not that we were leading the whole race,” said Ricciardo. “So it’s not that I had time to understand that I was going to win, it all happened in the last few laps, so I think that’s why it’s still taking a while to comprehend in my head. But really nice, a really good feeling. The race came to life at the end. Mercedes had their issues and it enable us to close on them. We had a good fight with Perez and we were really struggling to pass them.

“They had, as we know, a really strong car down the straight and it was doing a good job through the corners as well to keep me behind. But then out of the last chicane I got a really good run on him and made the move stick in turns one and two. I was close to overshooting it, dropped a couple of wheels in the grass but it was fine and then Nico in the closing stages. Really, really nice. I wasn’t sure if the two drivers on the last lap were OK, so I just wanted to make sure they were cool before we got celebrating, but I believe they’re fine so really, really happy with the result.”

Ricciardo said he’d worked hard to find a way past Perez.

“To be honest I was trying the whole time I was behind him. I was looking for opportunities and, as I said, he was driving well and wasn’t making any mistakes and realistically I needed a bit of a mistake from him because they were just getting off the corner so well. But then I think, yeah, he got quite close to Nico and perhaps just overshot the braking a little bit in the last chicane. I managed to just stay with him on the exit, get the tow and use the DRS.

“I knew we were strong braking into Turn One, we were really quick into there so, yeah, once I had the outside line free I just basically went in and made it work. Yeah, that was the place I wanted to do it – but as I said, I was trying all the time and it was just then that the opportunity came – but I wasn’t really holding back!”

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