Daniel Ricciardo says his eighth place finish in Italy felt like a podium after engine penalties forced him to start at the back – and the Aussie believes that RBR can challenge for a real one in Singapore.
Ricciardo started on the prime tyre and ran a longer first stint than anyone else, giving himself soft tyres for a sprint to the flag at the end. He relieved Marcus Ericsson of eighth on the last corner.
“It was cool, it was a bit like last year,” said Ricciardo. “We had good pace at the end, and we were able to go longer on the first stint. I think we could have gone longer again, but I think we had to cover Dany [Kvyat] coming out, he pitted a few laps earlier. Anyway, I was happy with the car.
“We know we struggle on the straights, it was always going to be hard to get in the top 10 here with our package, but the chassis itself again I’m really pleased with, it’s handling well. To get in the top eight – I said at the start of the weekend if we can crack the top eight it will be like a podium for us.
“To finish top eight exceeded our expectations, to say the least. I just got Ericsson on the last corner, much to his dismay I guess. My smile got bigger.
“Some other positives, since we’ve had the new start procedures, I don’t know if it’s luck, but both my starts have been pretty awesome. I’ll take that as well as a positive from the weekend.”
Regarding prospects for Singapore he said: “I don’t want to get too excited, but we can all go in there with some confidence. I think the car has got better and better in the last few races, and Singapore will bring our car to life. Hopefully we can challenge Ferrari for a podium.”