Mar 16, 2014, 5:30 AM EDT
Daniel Ricciardo has made an incredible start to his life with Red Bull by claiming the first podium finish of his Formula 1 career at his home race in Australia.
Having qualified in second place, Ricciardo made a good start to hold position behind Nico Rosberg and stay out of trouble to record his first top three finish, fending off the advances of Kevin Magnussen in the dying stages of the race.
In front of a home crowd, it was a very popular result, whilst it came as a surprise to Red Bull after a disastrous winter that saw many write the team off as possible title contenders. On the podium after the race, a beaming Ricciardo expressed his relief and joy.
“Two to three weeks ago, I would have bet pretty much everything I have that we would not be standing up here,” he explained. “Just full credit to the team for an unbelievable turnaround. I don’t understand how they did it, but they did so thank you guys.”
Ricciardo’s result was made all the sweeter by the home crowd that cheered his every move at Albert Park, and he also paid tribute to the retired Mark Webber by deliberately tripping up on the podium, just as his compatriot did in Brazil last year.
“Of course, the Aussie fans! Wow. Completely overwhelming. No words. I’m tripping balls right now.
“I thought I’d do a stack to commemorate Mark as well. It’s an Aussie thing. Really pleased to be up here.”
Interviewee and 1980 world champion Alan Jones summed up the thoughts of the nation, telling his fellow countryman: “You’ve done us all pround.”
Ricciardo finished as the sole Red Bull on Sunday after Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire from the race on lap five due to a problem on his power unit. It also marks the emergence of a new young superstar in the sport as the Australian driver finally proves his ability after two years stuck in the midfield with Toro Rosso.
UPDATE: RICCIARDO EXCLUDED (09:13 ET)
Ricciardo has been excluded from the Australian Grand Prix due to an irregularity with his fuel system. For the full story, click here.
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