Ricciardo speaks to Sky F1 about a brilliant drive at the Eifel GP, his emotions ahead of leaving Renault, and a ‘forgotten’ shooey…
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 11/10/20 5:43pm
“A long time coming.”
Daniel Ricciardo was delighted to finally end his and Renault’s podium wait after a brilliant drive at the Eifel GP – and even found time to perform a customary shooey despite initially forgetting his famous celebration!
Ricciardo hadn’t finished on the podium since his last Red Bull victory in Monaco in 2018, while Renault’s wait had lasted since 2011, but he was a superb third for the improving French outfit in Sunday’s Nurburgring race.
“To be honest, it feels like the first podium [Ricciardo’s first was in 2014] all over again,” admitted a beaming Ricciardo to Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham. “The feeling I have now is like that really happy shock.
“It was pretty stressful. It’s been two and a half years since I had a podium and it’s really nice. When we signed on the dotted line for this Renault contract, it was to be up here and get a podium by Year Two and we’ve achieved that.”
The in-form Ricciardo, who had been fourth three times in 2020 before the Eifel GP, added to Ted Kravitz during The Notebook: “In a way it was a long time coming because we’ve been knocking on the door the last few weekends. Now we’ve got it.”
Ricciardo, up on the podium with Lewis Hamilton and former Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, has made a ‘shooey’ celebration – where he tips champagne into one of his racing shoes before drinking it – a highlight in recent years, but admitted he forgot all about it post-race.
“I’m literally going to go and do one now,” he said to Ted. “I forgot all about it! Basically Max sprayed me and it was freezing… and it’s 2020, you know. Normally there’s fans yelling it, obviously there’s not really anyone else other than the team under the podium and I feel like they kind of remind me. 2020 problems!
“I’ll do a little one for myself now, and I’ll share it.”
Share it, Ricciardo did.
“I think I was so caught up in the podium,” he said on Instagram. “So here it is, belated but better late than ever.”
Ricciardo on Eifel GP, leaving Renault, and Cyril tattoo…
Crucial to Ricciardo’s race on Sunday was overtaking Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc early on in the race, while he then held off Sergio Perez – helped partly by a late Safety Car which allowed him to pit for fresh tyres.
“I know at the start it was critical to get Albon and Leclerc,” he said. “Leclerc held on for a few laps, he defended well, but then I got him and that set us up.
“The Safety Car restart… I got very close to getting Max but us obviously tussling meant Perez got very close, and I thought he was going to get me into Turn Four.”
Renault, meanwhile, appear to be hitting top form just before Ricciardo’s exit from the team, with the 31-year-old leaving for McLaren at the end of the season.
“We’re moving on but this really does still cap a pretty cool story we’ve had for these two years and the good news is that it’s not over yet,” added Ricciardo.
“I’m obviously OK with it and excited for next year, but I’d much rather end on a high. People think it’s easier to leave when you’re struggling, and yeah for sure you’re moving onto something better – but I don’t want to struggle, period.
“I want to have success in every race, so to leave here with a lot of excitement, happiness, it’s cool. I’m OK with everything right now and just really happy we’ve had a successful season. To be fighting at the front again, that’s what I want.”
Ricciardo’s podium also means Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has to prepare for some fresh ink. The pair had a bet that if Ricciardo secured a top-three finish before the end of the season, Abiteboul would get a tattoo – picking the placement and size himself but his driver the design.
“I know a few artists in London!” exclaimed Ricciardo. “We both spend some time in London with the team so I might schedule a little call-in with the team and set up a little house studio for him I reckon.”