Baku: Daniel Ricciardo’s famous smile was at its widest on Sunday when he joined two other delighted drivers on an unlikely-looking podium at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old Australian admitted he could hardly believe he had won and had been giggling with joy in his Red Bull car after winning the race.
"I can’t really believe it – it was a crazy race," he said. "I was honestly speechless afterwards and on the cool down lap, I was just giggling like a little schoolboy.
"Did I ever think I would win? Not for all my money, but this was the race we expected last year with all the Safety Cars and the chaos.
"I knew I had to stay our of trouble and do my own race and it certainly worked today."
Ricciardo came home first ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Canadian teenager Lance Stroll of Williams.
Stroll thereby claimed his first podium finish after unlikely setbacks had hit fourth-placed world championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and three-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Ricciardo started the race from 10th on the grid and was 17th after six laps, but he worked his way forward to claim his fifth career win and first this year.
"I knew the podium was a chance after the re-start, and then heard of the problems for Lewis (Hamilton) and Seb (Vettel).
"I had made an unplanned pit-stop at the beginning after a few laps we had some debris in the brakes, so I had to stop and clean it and well fell to 17th.
"Then it just came my way. We took a ‘free-‘ pit stop for super-soft tyres and we made them work.
His Red Bull team-mate Dutch teenager Max Verstappen retired after an engine failure.
Published Date: Jun 26, 2017 11:50 am | Updated Date: Jun 26, 2017 11:50 am