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'Perfect day' for Ricciardo storming through the field at Monza

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Italian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Daniel Ricciardo might have been starting the Italian Grand Prix from 16th place, but he never gave up hopes of competing for a podium spot. And it turned out that he was quite right not to.

“I’m very, very happy about the result and loved it out there today," he beamed after finishing the race in fourth. "It was good fun. Two of my favourite races this year have been starting from the back, Silverstone and this one.

"Some good overtakes in the race kept me excited. And I had some real pace in the end," he added. "You can almost call it a perfect day."

The Red Bull driver ran as high as third place before his pit stop. That dropped him behind the two Ferraris, but a brilliant pass on Kimi Raikkonen put him back into fourth.

"I'll give him the credit and say he raced clean and fair," said Ricciardo, when asked if the move had taken a fair degree of mutual trust between the drivers. "But I would have done it on anyone to be honest!

"When you're coming through the field and you've got all that momentum, it doesn't matter who you're coming up against.

"I was aware that the deeper I got towards the front the harder the overtake would be," he explained. "Normally they're going quicker so the speed difference is not as much.

"In the end I had blinkers on for the move and was happy to pull it off.

"It was fun. Definitely had some really good overtakes. A little bit like the race in 2014 - we came through the pack and did some little highlights for the year. Hopefully this year created a few more."

After passing Raikkonen, Ricciardo had 11 laps left to catch up with Sebastian Vettel who was running in third place. Unfortunately time ran out before he could hunt down the Ferrari.

"I could see Seb and the thought of a podium was tempting me, so I was obviously trying to catch him right up to the end," he said. "At one stage we were catching Seb about a second a lap, 1.1 - at that rate we would have caught him by the last lap.

"But I think then he was able to turn it up a bit. And I was using every bit of my tyre I could.

"We couldn’t have done much more from where we started. Of course I wanted to be up there on the podium as it looked unreal, but I believe it will come next year."

The secret to Ricciardo's success was his extended opening run on the soft compound tyres. He made them work while avoiding wearing them out prematurely which allowed him to stay out until lap 38.

"It went better than I thought. To be honest the first few laps there was probably a little bit of contact in the first chicane, maybe the second chicane as well. I guess being in heavy traffic as well.

"The tyres were feeling quite gooey I would say, and didn't feel I could get much out of them," he said of those opening laps.

"But once we cleared a few guys and got clear air we had some good pace. That was enough to overcut Ocon and those guys.

"The boys did the quickest pit stop and I also got the fastest lap so that’s very cool," he pointed out. "Thanks to them it gave us a charge at the end."

Buoyed up by his success carving his way through the field this weekend, Ricciardo has high hopes for what's possible next time out.

"I think we'll lap the field at Singapore, so looking forward to that!" he laughed.

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