Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Ricciardo clawed back from back of the pack in power move to clinch fourth.
Verstappen confidently takes third, as Ricciardo navigates from fifteenth to fourth in an eventful Grand Prix in Japan.
An early tussle with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, resulted in in a five-second penalty for Verstappen for contact.
The Dutchman again clashed with Ferarri’s Sebastian Vettel, in failed overtake by Vettel on Lap 7, resulted in a spin out for the German.
Daniel Ricciardo’s disasterous qualifiers Saturday, that saw him start from 15th position, were all but forgotten as the Australian navigated his way through the pack to nab 4th, in an extrodinary performance on the turn heavy track.
Mercedes is dominated the podium as Lewis Hamilton took the win ahead of Valtterie Bottas, with Max Verstappen in third and fellow Aston Martin Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in fourth.
Team Scuderio Torro Rosso had a solid performance, with Frenchman Pierre Gasly in 11th position followed by New Zealands’s Brendon Hartley in 13th position.
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 3rd, Start Position: 3rd
“After the penalty and incident with Seb I’m really happy to come away with another podium in Japan. The car felt good and we were able to compete at the front for the entire race, which at this track makes it even better. Judging by a few mistakes he made it looked like Bottas was pushing hard on the last few laps. It’s hard to follow anyway so I just did my best hoping he would make another fault and I could be in a position to take advantage. I felt a little hard done by with the penalty I got while defending against Kimi. I was trying my best to get back onto the track as quickly as possible instead of just cutting the corner, perhaps next time I will just cut the track. The incident with Sebastian was a very similar mistake to mine in China earlier this year, I think he could have passed easier if he had waited. It shows that even the most experienced drivers can make errors when under pressure. I’m now very excited to get to Austin, we have good performance and it’s a great place to visit.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 4th, Start Position: 15th
“Surprisingly, I was able to come through the field and overtake quite easily. That’s not because I thought I couldn’t personally overtake, it’s just not that easy on this track, but I was able to make good use of the downforce we had on the soft tyre. I knew we would be quite vulnerable on the straights as we ran very high downforce this weekend, but I could stay close enough in the corners that I could latch onto the tow of the cars ahead on the straights. It was a good set-up and the first part of the race was a lot of fun. We went on to the mediums to try and cover Kimi and fourth place was kind of written after that. I would have loved a podium and I was kinda of hoping for something to happen up front, but I feel I earned at least a fourth today. It was good to come through the field and on the grid Helmut actually said that he thought fourth place was a little optimistic and possibly out of reach today. So, fourth is like a little victory from the back on this track and it was good to see our strong pace against Ferrari. A podium would have been even sweeter but I can’t complain with the result and I’m pleased for the Team. All that’s left to say is, arigatooooo Japan.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “Today was a good day for both drivers and the Team. For Max to achieve a podium despite incurring a five second penalty following contact with Kimi on the opening lap was a great performance. He had a busy afternoon, with a racing incident between him and Seb on lap seven resulting in damage. Despite that, he was still able to close down Valtteri in the final stages and put him under pressure to try and claim second place and secure his third consecutive Suzuka podium. Daniel also drove a very strong Grand Prix, progressing through the field with some great overtakes and with strong pace he was able to finish fourth from fifteenth on the grid. All round, it has been a positive day getting two cars to the finish and taking home a good haul of points for the Team.”
Pierre Gasly: Race: Pos. 11th
“It was a good start as I managed to overtake Brendon and the first stint was great. I felt good with the car behind Romain and I was pretty close to him, but then we went too long on the first stint as we didn’t want to pit into traffic but then several cars undercut us. We put the Soft tyres on during the pit stop and I enjoyed the battles and overtakes on the first few laps, but then I started to have massive blisters on the rear tyres and I was trying to survive at the end. It could have been better today so we need to analyse more deeply what happened. We probably didn’t make the best decisions, but that happens sometimes, it’s easy to say in hindsight that we could have made different choices. It’s just a shame after such a good Qualifying yesterday, It would have been great to reward the team and Honda here in Japan for their home race with some points today.”
Brendon Hartley Race: Pos. 13th
“I don’t feel like I did too much wrong at the start of the race, but I just couldn’t get the power down. For the whole first stint I didn’t have much grip and poor traction cost me a lot of time. Then on the second set I found myself in traffic, I made a couple of overtakes on both of the Williams but in the end I got stuck behind Marcus. It’s a real shame that both cars are outside the points after such a promising result in Qualifying yesterday.”