Ricciardo hails 'perfect day' as he battles to fourth at Monza

Daniel Ricciardo scythed through the field to fourth
Daniel Ricciardo scythed through the field to fourth

A heavy grid penalty didn't seem to stop Daniel Ricciardo as he battled to a sensational fourth place at the Italian Grand Prix - but there was more bad luck for Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

With Verstappen starting 13th and Ricciardo 16th, few would have predicted a late sniff of a podium for the Australian as he ran late before his first and only pit-stop, closing in on third place Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages for a chance of a podium place.

Massa and Verstappen collided after three laps

Massa and Verstappen collided after three laps

“I’m very, very happy about the result and loved it out there today," he said. "It was good fun. Two of my favourite races this year have been starting from the back - Silverstone and this one. Some good overtakes in the race kept me excited and I had some real pace in the end.

"I could see Seb and the thought of a podium was tempting me, so I was obviously trying to catch him right up to the end. The boys did the quickest pit stop and I also got the fastest lap so that’s very cool.

"You can almost call it a perfect day. We couldn’t have done much more from where we started. Of course I wanted to be up there on the podium as it looked unreal, but I believe it will come next year. Today has been a really good boost for everyone and we’re looking ahead to Singapore.”

But Verstappen's torrid season continued when he had a coming together with Williams driver Felipe Massa at the first chicane on just the third lap, puncturing his front right tyre, and forcing him to do the best part of a lap with a flat before making it back to the pits.

Verstappen's collision with Massa punctured his tyre

Verstappen's collision with Massa punctured his tyre

The Dutchman was running ahead of his team-mate at that stage, but the repairs forced him to the back of the pack, meaning he'd have to battle through the traffic once again. While his performance went under the radar, he fought valiantly to get back into the points, securing the final one on offer with 10th place.

Verstappen said: “I had a good start, immediately I was between the Sauber cars and then under braking I chose quite a good line, then out of turn two I got another position and it was all looking good.

"On lap three I had a touch with Massa and punctured my tyre so my race was really over. I had to pit for tyres and change the front wing which meant swapping to a two-stop strategy.

"I tried to catch up and the car was working pretty well, so we cannot complain about that.

"At least we finished the race and at the end of the day I think it wasn’t too bad to end up back in a point-scoring position after what happened at the start.”