Daniel Ricciardo has strung together another promising performance at the British Grand Prix, securing fifth place - his best result with McLaren so far.
In what was a dramatic outing at Silverstone that saw championship leader Max Verstappen hit the barrier on the opening lap after making contact with title rival Lewis Hamilton, Ricciardo put in a strong afternoon on track to bank a top five finish.
It didn’t come without its own drama though as Ricciardo was locked in a thrilling battle with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for the better part of 20 laps.
Having started the Grand Prix in P6 alongside teammate Lando Norris, Ricciardo quickly made up one place as a result of Verstappen’s crash before the session was red flagged.
Upon the restart, the West Australian looked to have major issues when smoke started coming out of his car, however the mystery smoke soon subsided and Ricciardo was left to continue his fight with Sainz.
While dropping down the field after his pit stop and being held up by Pierre Gasly, Ricciardo was on track to come out behind Sainz after the Spaniard’s own stop, however the Australian was gifted his position back after a slow stop from Ferrari.
For the final stint of the race, Ricciardo was then forced to hold off the fast-charging Sainz on fresher tyres and did so brilliantly as he made it to the chequered flag less than a second ahead of the Ferrari.
After what has been a slow start to his new team, Ricciardo looks to have finally found his groove and was thrilled with his result.
“Happy with my first top five of the year. Took a while, better late than never,” Ricciardo said post-race
“When I saw Carlos coming in that second stint he caught me so fast. But I certainly backed myself and I wasn’t going to go out without a fight.
“I think actually pushing to defend allowed me to stay on the limit a bit more and get a bit more comfortable with the car on the edge. I learned a bit more from that actually, so we’ll keep going.
“I definitely need to have a few (good results) in a row. I need to have that consistency now to kind of have a bit more faith in saying that.
“I want to say that and I do feel better but there’s still certainly some time on the table that I need to find and get comfortable with the car. But overall, a good weekend.”
At the front of the field, Hamilton overcame a time penalty for the clash with Verstappen to secure his eighth victory at Silverstone after beating Charles Leclerc and teammate Valtteri Bottas.
It’s now a small break for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with the 2021 season to resume at the Hungaroring on 1 August for the Hungarian Grand Prix.