Ricciardo hails ‘perfect’ first season with Red Bull Racing

Daniel Ricciardo leads team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Abu Dhabi
Daniel Ricciardo leads team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Abu Dhabi

Daniel Ricciardo has described his first season with Red Bull Racing as ‘perfect’ as he took third in the overall standings.

The Australian had a spectacular race under the lights in the season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, starting from the pitlane and racing to fourth place.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 23:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing smiles during a drivers' photo before the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 23, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Ricciardo 517478103

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 23: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing smiles during a drivers' photo before the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 23, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Ricciardo 517478103

Ricciardo scythed through the field at the Yas Marina circuit, passing cars left, right and centre as he climbed up the order to finish just off the podium.

He said: “I think it was pretty much a faultless race from all sides, from the strategy, to myself and the pit stops, everything was good so we did everything we needed to.

“I had fun passing, it wasn’t boring out there, so it was pretty much what I asked for. One spot better would have been nice, but fourth is really cool from the pit lane.”

Ricciardo started as he meant to go on in the season opener in Australia, finishing second at his home race only to have the result snatched away from him after fuel irregularities.

But he finally made it onto the podium in Spain in the fifth round, and after another third in Monaco, took to the top step for the first time at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Two more wins followed in Hungary and Belgium, along with three more third places, culminating in a third place finish overall behind world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

“It’s been pretty much a perfect season,” said Ricciardo. “As perfect as it can be without holding a world title, so no real regrets, no complaints.

“It’s nice to not only start the season well, but to finish it well also and I think all the way through it was good - we had a strong summer as well, so the start, middle and end were pretty good!”

After the race, Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner hailed Ricciardo’s performance throughout the season, not just at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“It was a phenomenal drive from Daniel to drive from the pit lane to finish fourth, an incredible recovery after the circumstances of Saturday, signing off a fantastic season for Daniel finishing third in the world championship and an unbelievable year.”