Ricciardo's lonely podium in Spain after Verstappen crashes out
Daniel Ricciardo picked up his first podium of the season but team-mate Max Verstappen didn't fare as well, crashing out at the first corner of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Dutchman was on the outside when Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas collided heading into Turn 1, with the Ferrari driver bouncing off the Mercedes and into Verstappen's Red Bull car, eliminating both with suspension damage.
It was Verstappen's second DNF of the season, but after watching the replays back, admitted it was just bad luck which eliminated him from the race he won in 2016.
"It was an unfortunate start to the race which ultimately finished it also," he said. "I tried to go around the outside as there was plenty of room there. If Valtteri had not touched Kimi, we all would have had enough room to get through that corner. Due to the contact it meant Kimi lost control and slammed into me, but it wasn’t his fault.
"Sometimes you have a bit of luck, like last year, sometimes you don’t as we can see this year. It was shame to not be able to take part in the race after the incident as I think with this weekend’s upgrades it could have been fun and we could have got a good result."
While Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Bottas battled out for the podium spots, Ricciardo was left a lonely fourth, well ahead of the Force Indias but a long way off the pace of the trio. And when Bottas' engine expired, Ricciardo inherited third place to take Red Bull's second podium of the season.
The Australian said: "I’m happy to be back on the podium today, it’s the first one of the season for me which is nice but actually the race was quite a lonely one. I didn’t have any real battles and my race was more about trying to keep a rhythm and maintain concentration.
"I got a bit fortunate with Valtteri’s problem towards the end of the race which bumped me up to third, but of course I’m still happy to be up there again and see all the smiles from the team.
"Today we will enjoy the podium but tomorrow we need to understand how to further close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes. I want to take the positives from this weekend, we will keep working hard and chipping away."
Red Bull were relying heavily on upgrades being brought to the RB13, hoping to bridge the sizeable gap between the Tilbrook team and the Mercedes and Ferrari cars. But with the gap still around a second per lap, Ricciardo admitted it could take a long time before the team are battling for race wins again.
He added: "I don’t think it’s impossible to catch the leaders at some point, maybe it will take a little longer than we had hoped but we will get there.
I think I got the maximum out of the car today and moving on to Monaco we will have a few more updates, which will hopefully give us another step, and at that track it’s fair to say anything can happen.”