Daniel Ricciardo says it was better to finish on the podium and then be disqualified than never to have got there in the first place.
He said his post-race exclusion from second place on his debut for Red Bull “puts a bit of a downer on what had been a brilliant day”.
“I did a good job in the car and I got to stand on the Australian Grand Prix podium,” added Ricciardo, “and no-one’s taking the sensation of doing that away”.
“What happens next is outside of my ability to control but honestly, I’d rather it went down like this than have retired from the race with a mechanical problem. I’ll take a podium and a subsequent disqualification over that any day of the week.”
Following a series of problems in pre-season testing, which prevented the team from completing a race simulation, Ricciardo said his car performed better than expected during the first grand prix weekend.
“The work we did in the winter targeted reliability rather than performance. It was only in Melbourne that we got the opportunity to start working on a set-up.
“The RB10 surprised us by being pretty competitive in the dry and very competitive in the wet. It’s going to get much better as we dial it in over the next few races and catch up with those teams that did more miles pre-season.”
“At the moment, we’re in the battle to be the second-best team,” he added. “Obviously that isn’t where we want to be but it’s exceeding our expectations of only a few weeks ago.”
“I think once we really get into the set-up of the car, we’ll be able to close the gap to Mercedes. Obviously they’re going to improve too but I think we’re in a good position to make bigger strides.”
2014 F1 season
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