Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, after his momentous maiden victory for McLaren at the Italian Grand Prix — where he led home a one-two finish for the team ahead of team-mate Lando Norris — said on Wednesday that he was banking on his “supportive team” to help him do an encore at this weekend’s race in Russia.
Australian Ricciardo took his first Grand Prix victory since 2018, and McLaren’s first since 2012, with victory at Monza — in a race that saw Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crash out — and remarked that it was a “reassuring” result after months of struggles getting used to workings at his new team.
“A week on from Monza, it still feels good thinking about being back on that top step of the podium,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to end a triple-header. I loved competing at the front of the grid and having the chance to fight for the win. The one-two finish is a product of hard work throughout the team and from myself,” Ricciardo told formula1.com.
“Since the start of my journey with McLaren I’ve been working through the challenges that come with adapting to a new car, but the team has been really supportive throughout. It’s great to have a result that completes that picture, and to have the team back in the winner’s circle has been a ride and I’ve only been a part of it for six months. It’s been the boost we all needed.”
The Australian added that attention has quickly turned to this weekend’s race at Sochi, particularly qualifying, as he aims to build on victory a fortnight ago.
“I’ve definitely taken time to enjoy the moment but now it’s time to focus on Russia. I want to build on my Monza performance this weekend and will be pushing to score important points to keep up the fight with our competitors,” he said. “Sochi can be a tricky circuit to make a move, so it’s important to make the most of qualifying to give us the best chance for points come Sunday.”
Team-mate Norris, who took a career-best P2 at Monza, said he was focused on helping the team take third in the constructors’ championship — where they currently sit, 13.5 points ahead of Ferrari.
“We’re not getting carried away as we know it won’t be like this every weekend. We need to continue to put ourselves in the best position possible and maximise the car, pit-stops, strategy and everything in between,” said Norris.
“Heading into Russia, the battle for third in the constructors’ is still tight and looks set to stay that way until the last race of the season. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going from Italy and score some solid points for the team,” concluded the Briton.