Daniel Ricciardo has finished ninth at the French Grand Prix overnight in a solid result.
Max Verstappen won the race to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship to 38 points, while Charles Leclerc’s title hopes are all but over after he crashed out.
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Leclerc was on course for a crucial victory but lost control of his Ferrari and let out a visceral scream of frustration.
Ricciardo started ninth on the grid after a disappointing qualifying effort. “I was p***ed and angry and frustrated, but a couple hours removed now I’m more focused on putting that behind me. You kind of have to move on quick in this sport. Otherwise, it’ll do you no good. You look back, you get a sore neck,” he said earlier on the weekend.
However, the Aussie had his eye on the prize when the main event kicked off on Sunday night (AEST) and was in the thick of things in the early stages at Circuit Paul Ricard.
He gained a place on the opening lap and was right behind his McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the first part of the race.
But Norris eventually pulled away to finish seventh, while Ricciardo fought out a tight battle with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who passed him late in the race.
Ricciardo finished in P9, the same place he started. It was a positive outing and another much needed top 10 result following his P9 at the Austrian Grand Prix, but the Honey Badger was upset at being passed at the death.
“It was fun to go side-by-side but I got overtaken so it wasn’t that fun,” Ricciardo said of his battle with Ocon.
The Australian’s performance was praised by 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.
“I think it would be good to praise Daniel on his weekend because in qualifying, he was just over a tenth (of a second) away from Lando,” Rosberg said in commentary for Sky Sports.
“Now in the race, on race pace he’s right there with him, stuck behind him. I think it’s a good weekend for Daniel. He’s on the right track to finding his way again.
“I think he sees that himself that is was a positive weekend. Of course it wasn’t the greatest of all time, but it was another step in the right direction to always be very close to his teammate.
“It’s something he can build on further and that’s great for Daniel because it’s been such a difficult time.
“It’s great to see him getting this positive momentum going, that’s awesome. It’s hard work that pays off eventually.”
Ricciardo will he hoping for another solid result at next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix before F1’s mid-season break.
French Grand Prix results (top 10)
1 Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) George Russell, Mercedes
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin