Ricciardo leads McLaren charge in Spain

Monday 10 May, 2021
Photo: McLaren F1 Media
Daniel Ricciardo has topped McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the first time this year after finishing the Spanish Grand Prix in sixth place. 
 
In what was his strongest overall weekend since joining McLaren, Ricciardo ended up finishing one place ahead of where he qualified, while Norris crossed the line in eighth.
 
Having started the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Championship season’s fourth round in P7, the West Australian made up two places on the first turn to jump to P5, a spot he stayed for the next 46 laps.
 
Although Ricciardo defended well for a large stint of the race, Riccardo was unable to hold off Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and eventually yielded the position to drop back to sixth.
 

From the point on, his race became against the fast charging Carlos Sainz, where he was required to act just as he had done to Perez and that was to defend multiple passing attempts against the Spaniard – a feat he managed to do. 

"It was a good weekend,” Ricciardo said post-race.

“I would say the best weekend so far as a whole and I felt like I got the maximum out of the car today. I was defending the whole time. We jumped a few spots at the start and I think naturally those cars were a little quicker, which left me defending.

"It meant that the pace was high, and it forced me to push the whole way. I ended up learning even more about the car.

“We’re obviously competitive for points, but we just need that little extra step. Ferrari had a bit more than us today and obviously we know the Red Bull is fast. We know we’ve still got some work to do but all-in-all it was a smooth, well-executed weekend.

"The team made some good calls for the pit-stops and I think top-six was the best result possible.”

Meanwhile at the front of the field, Lewis Hamilton converted a 100th career pole milestone to his third of win of the season over Max Verstappen.
 
It was not an easy victory for the seven-time Formula 1 champion though as he lost his lead to Verstappen on the first turn and took until the final laps of the race to regain it back, courtesy of a brilliant two-stop strategy from Mercedes. 
 
While Verstappen did all he could to defend the lead, he was no match for Hamilton on new tyres and the decision to concede came not long after his lost top spot - confirmed by Red Bull's decision to pit Verstappen in order to go the fastest lap, which he successfully achieved. 
 
Valtteri Bottas ended up on the final step of the podium, comfortably seeing off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while Perez ended the race in fifth place. 
 
Hamilton’s victory sees him move further ahead of Verstappen in the outright standings, while Ricciardo remains in seventh place.
 
The FIA Formula 1 Championship resumes in two weeks time, for the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix on 23 May. 
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