Daniel Ricciardo has enjoyed his equal best result for McLaren overnight after finishing the Formula 1 French Grand Prix in sixth.
In what has been a rough month for Ricciardo, the West Australian put in a solid weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard and was rewarded for his efforts with his third sixth-place finish for the year.
Having started the race in P10, a quick start off the line saw the Motorsport Australia ambassador make up two early positions to move into eighth ahead of teammate Lando Norris.
Ricciardo was having no issue with pace either as he quickly chased down Charles Leclerc to move into seventh place, before he pitted in an attempt to pull off an undercut against the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly – a move which was successfully achieved.
From that moment, Ricciardo held firm, re-passed Charles Leclerc and was on track for a fifth-place finish behind the Red Bulls and Mercedes before Norris, who pitted much later, overtook him for fifth.
Although he couldn’t finish ahead of his younger teammate, it was still a strong performance from Riccardo who held off a fast-charging Gasly and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in the final laps.
"That was our dream race and we managed to pull it off," Ricciardo said post-race.
"Definitely a positive Sunday. I think it was the race we were hoping for but not the one we expected. I don't think we expected our closest competitor to score no points, and for us to be the best of the midfield with both cars.
"I'm really happy with the race, although if I'm honest, I wasn't totally happy with the car. I was struggling from the laps to the grid and then for the whole race. But it felt like everyone else, besides Lando, was struggling more.
"It was a fun race and I'm happy we brought it home in fifth and sixth for the team today. It's about time we got back in these positions, so it was a positive day."
At the front of the field, the epic battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton came down to a thrilling climax as a late pitstop strategy from Red Bull saw the young Dutchman pass the reigning champion on the penultimate lap to get his second win in just three weeks.
With Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez having been one of the last drivers on a one stop strategy to pit, the Mexican managed to pip Valtteri Bottas during the final laps due to having fresher tyres, making it the first Red Bull double podium of the season.
Verstappen’s French victory extended his lead at the top of the standings to 12 points, while Ricciardo’s efforts saw him move into ninth in the championship.
With the two McLaren drivers securing fifth and sixth respectively and both Ferrari drivers finishing out of the points, McLaren now sits third on the Constructors' championship standings – 16 points ahead of their Italian rivals.
It’s straight to Austria for the next round of the 2021 Formula 1 Championship with the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg taking place this weekend.