Ricciardo ‘one of F1’s best drivers’

Daniel Ricciardo has been hailed as one of the best drivers in Formula One after scoring his second grand prix win in Hungary.


The Australian passed two former world champions in the final four laps to claim the stunning victory in a safety car-interrupted race at the Hungaroring on Sunday.

Tyre strategy proved the difference in the end, with a third pitstop and fresh rubber allowing Ricciardo to overtake Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the dying stages.

Ferrari’s Alonso finished second for podium number two of the season, with Hamilton – who started from the pit lane after an engine fire during qualifying – crossing third.

Ricciardo’s triumph follows his maiden career victory in Canada last month.

“I was just as hungry for this second one and it feels just as good,” he said.

“I am definitely going to celebrate tonight, party for a few days and enjoy a few days off.”

The 25-year-old won from sixth on the grid in Montreal and from fourth in Budapest – making him just the ninth man in Formula One history to win his first two grands prix from outside the top three. The last driver to do that was Kimi Raikkonen a decade ago.

He remains the only non-Mercedes driver to win in 2014 and heads into the four-week mid-season break third on the drivers’ standings – 43 points ahead of teammate and defending champion Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso again praised Ricciardo for his drive, a week after applauding him for an “unbelievable” start to the season with Red Bull.

“I think he’s leading the champion team – that says it all,” the two-time title-winner said.

“He’s doing a fantastic job this year and now he has a few bottles (of champagne).

“Congratulations to him for today, for the whole championship – it’s going to be an interesting fight in the next couple of years.”

Hamilton, 11 points behind leading Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, was just as complimentary.

“(He’s) not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock but also one of the best drivers here, for sure,” the Briton said.

“He’s been driving fantastically well from the beginning of the year.

“So, it’s not only now, it’s through the whole year he’s shown his capability and is going from strength to strength.”

His performance also drew admiration from the man he replaced at Red Bull, countryman Mark Webber – now a sportscar racer with Porsche.

“Great tactics from @redbullracing and another faultless drive by @danielricciardo spot on… proud Aussie,” Webber tweeted.

Ricciardo said his aim for the second half of the season, which begins on August 24 with the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamp, was to “just get better”.

“That’s realistic. I’m young, I’ve still got to keep improving,” he said.

“I ain’t getting slower, so let’s keep on this ramp and build.”