Ricciardo proud of Red Bull strategy gamble
Daniel Ricciardo felt he drove a ‘perfect race’ after falling agonisingly close to a fourth career Formula 1 victory at the Singapore Grand Prix following a late strategy gamble.
The Red Bull driver produced a grandstand finish at the Marina Bay Circuit as he reeled in long time leader Nico Rosberg following an inspired move to make a third pitstop 15 laps from the end.
A switch to super-soft tyres saw the Australian, who held second since the start of the race, make inroads on the Mercedes driver’s 24 second lead, taking as much as three seconds per lap.
Ricciardo managed to cut the gap to just 0.4s as Rosberg just held on to record his third consecutive win on his 200th F1 start.
Having singled out Singapore as a real chance to record a first win of the season, the 27-year-old believes he did everything in his power to wrestle the victory away from Rosberg.
“We have come very close this year on numerous occasions,” said Ricciardo, who missed out on victory at Monaco earlier this season.
“I am not going to stand here and be disappointed. I think we gave it a good shot.
“We tried something at the end with the different strategy and got within half a second. It was close.
“I am pretty happy because I did all I could, the perfect race.
“If anything could’ve been more perfect, it would be the start but Nico (Rosberg) got away well. Even with a perfect start we wouldn’t have got the jump.
“The team put me on a three-stop strategy. I knew I would get close even if it would be difficult to overtake.
“It was nice to push until the last lap and put some pressure on him.”
Although confident he would have the measure of Ricciardo on the final lap, Rosberg admitted he was concerned by Red Bull driver’s charge, having suffered from brake issues during the race.
The German has now opened up an eight-point lead over team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished Sunday’s race in third.
“With 10 laps or 15 laps to go after the pitstop they (the team) said he would be with me at the end of the race, which was the case,” said Rosberg.
“I had to be on it, get everything right and it worked out. The tyre lasted just right so I’m very happy of course.
“By the time I started the last lap, I knew it was enough as his tyres were not fresh, so it was okay.”