Ricciardo happy after ‘fun’ race in Austin

Daniel Ricciardo leads Lando Norris

Daniel Ricciardo suggested his drive to sixth place in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix was one of the most fun he’s had this season.

Having qualified ninth, Ricciardo found himself embroiled in battles with Lando Norris and, for a time, Sebastian Vettel to bring home a healthy haul of points for the team.

“We’ve had a lot of fun races this year and this one is certainly up there,” Ricciardo said.

“The one-stop was the plan and it looked like others on the two-stop would get close at the end, which made things a bit nervy.

“We reached our target of beating both McLarens, so that’s really pleasing.

“It was a strong race and we showed good pace.

“I enjoyed the battle with Lando (Norris) as I passed him and he passed me back a couple of times at the start and then put some pressure on towards the end.

“We held on for sixth, so it’s solid points for the team with Nico in the top 10 as well.”

Having started on the soft compound tyres, Ricciardo was in the pits early before a long run to the chequered flag on the harder compound rubber.

That saw him fast in the opening laps before fading, and in the closings stages was powerless to defend against the charging Alex Albon who stole fifth in the final laps.

In the sister Renault, Hulkenberg rose to the points after starting 11th in a comparatively quiet performance from the German.

“It was a race of two, contrasting halves for us,” Hulkenberg explained.

“The first part wasn’t great, we lost places at Turn 1 and Turn 2 on the opening lap with some cars coming back onto the track in front of me.

“That made things difficult, but then the second-half of the race was a lot of fun.

“We converted to a two-stop strategy, maybe a lap or two too late, which was my decision, but we then started catching others in front.

“We had good pace, some fun fights, so we can be pleased to score two points today.”

Sixth and ninth for Renault saw the team bank 10 points from the US Grand Prix, the same number as McLaren which took seventh and eighth courtesy of Norris and Carlos Sainz respectively.

The Anglo-French squad is still 38 points in arrears of McLaren for fourth in the constructors’ championship, but has moved to 18 points clear of Racing Point in sixth.

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