Daniel Ricciardo has enjoyed a solid weekend at the Red Bull Ring, powering to seventh place in a race full of close battles and overtakes.
Ricciardo’s disappointing qualifying on Saturday saw him out in Q2 and starting P13 on the grid – the same place he started and finished last week’s forgettable Styrian Grand Prix.
While it looked like another tough 71 laps was on the cards for the West Australian, Ricciardo started the race in typical fashion and made up multiple positions on the first lap.
Passing more drivers on his way up the field, Ricciardo got as high as a fifth after some good work passing a stubborn Pierre Gasly.
As the race to the chequered flag continued, Ricciardo then found himself in a tight battle with Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and eventually Carlos Sainz where he was forced to defend his spot for a number of laps.
Although Ricciardo lost out to Perez and eventually Sainz, who was on fresher tyres, a seventh place finish was a fantastic result for the 32-year-old, who enjoyed the race and made up the most positions of any of the drivers.
“Obviously yesterday (qualifying) wasn’t great, wasn’t fun," Ricciardo said post- race
“I took a lot more enjoyment from the race. It kept me busy the whole time and just had a good start, good restart. Then the defence was tricky, but it was a better day.
“Obviously it does get you down but today I just needed to have fun and even the position somewhat didn’t matter.
“It (strategy) was just to go and get in some battles and fight. I think that was the important thing. It’s obviously easier to come through a bit more when you start out of position.
“That gives me encouragement going into this sprint qualifying we’ve got in Silverstone, knowing wherever I start that race, I have confidence to start Sunday further up.”
With Ricciardo putting in an encouraging race to move up to eighth on the F1 standings ahead of Gasly, his teammate Lando Norris continued his stellar 2021 with his third podium for the season.
Norris started the race on the front row for the first time of his career alongside Max Verstappen but dropped to as low as fourth behind the two Mercedes. Eventually he made it back past Lewis Hamilton to grab the last place on the podium behind race winner Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen, who extended his lead in the standings over Hamilton to 32 points, produced a magnificent performance to claim his fifth win of the year, leading the field from start to finish and crossing the line 17 seconds ahead of Bottas.
After three consecutive weekends, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship will have a small break before heading to Silverstone next week for the British Grand Prix on Monday 19 July at 12am AEST.