Ricciardo hails Red Bull team after first podium

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after finishing second during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 16, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Ricciardo PNL-140316-095341002

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after finishing second during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 16, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Ricciardo PNL-140316-095341002

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Daniel Ricciardo admitted he was stunned to finish second at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Australian, driving his first race for Red Bull Racing, pulled off the shock of the weekend by qualifying the troublesome RB10 in second place on Saturday, while team-mate and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel could only qualify 12th.

While Vettel’s race ended after just five laps with an engine problem, Ricciardo overtook pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, but dropped behind fast starting Nico Rosberg.

Although he was unable to keep up with the German, who opened up an unassailable lead at the front, Ricciardo was able to hold off McLaren debutant Kevin Magnussen to take second place - his first podium, and in front of his home crowd.

After pre-season testing, many predicted Red Bull Racing would struggle to make the end of the race in Melbourne, including Ricciardo.

“Two or three weeks ago I would have bet pretty much everything that we would not be standing here,” Ricciardo said afterwards. “Full credit to the team for an unbelievable turnaround. I don’t know how they did it but they did.”

Vettel meanwhile lost power before the race even started, and found himself falling well back of the back before retiring after just five laps.

“On the second formation lap we lost power. I don’t understand why,” said the reigning World Champion.

“I didn’t have power. We tried to recover and at one stage I thought it was an improvement. But there was bigger problem with the engine. When you don’t have power from engine you can’t make it function properly.”

With Ricciardo finishing second, Vettel is certain that Red Bull can be a force when its reliability issues are fixed: “We’ll fix the issues, the question is how soon? If the package comes together I think we’ll be very competitive.”