Daniel Ricciardo picked up Red Bull’s first podium of the season with 3rd in Barcelona, while Max Verstappen suffered an early race retirement.
The Australian was running behind the early top 3 towards the end of proceedings, but was bumped into the podium finishes when Valtteri Bottas retired with engine failure and had a margin on the 2 Force Indias to take his first top 3 position since Mexico in November.
By contrast, Verstappen’s first Spanish Grand Prix since winning last year was ended by an early incident that also involved Kimi Raikkonen and Bottas. Contact between Bottas & Raikkonen lead to the Ferrari changing direction, and lead to a consequent further collision between the Ferrari and Red Bull. While Bottas was able to continue, the other two suffered suspension failures and were out before the end of the first lap.
Speaking after the, Ricciardo discussed his delight to treturn to the podium, but admitted he was hoping for a more exciting race.
He said, “I’m happy to be back on the podium today, it’s the first one of the season for me which is nice but actually the race was quite a lonely one. I didn’t have any real battles and my race was more about trying to keep a rhythm and maintain concentration. I got a bit fortunate with Valtteri’s problem towards the end of the race which bumped me up to third, but of course I’m still happy to be up there again and see all the smiles from the team. Today we will enjoy the podium but tomorrow we need to understand how to further close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes.
“I don’t think it’s impossible to catch the leaders at some point, maybe it will take a little longer than we had hoped but we will get there. I think I got the maximum out of the car today and moving on to Monaco we will have a few more updates, which will hopefully give us another step.”
Meanwhile, Verstappen expressed disappointment the luck went away from him in the early part of the race.
He said, “An unfortunate start to the race which ultimately finished it also. I tried to go around the outside as there was plenty of room there. If Valtteri had not touched Kimi, we all would have had enough room to get through that corner. Due to the contact it meant Kimi lost control and slammed into me, but it wasn’t his fault. Sometimes you have a bit of luck, like last year, sometimes you don’t as we can see this year.
“After an unfortunate race for me it’s important to focus and look ahead to Monaco, I’m hoping we can continue to improve and have a good fight there.”