April 14th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Daniel Ricciardo continued to show why he is regarded as a star of the future by completing an impressive Chinese Grand Prix weekend with seventh place in the race, his best finish to-date in Formula One.
Ricciardo and his Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne were evenly matched through the three practice sessions earlier in the weekend, but when it counted - in qualifying and then the race - Ricciardo had the edge. First he qualifed seventh, while Vergne was down in 15th on the grid. And then Ricciardo made the most of his strong grid position by finishing the race where he started, fighting with the front-runners along the way and finishing less than two seconds behind the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.
Ricciardo's performance highlighted the importance of strong qualifying. Pace throughout the field was very close during the race, with cars from both ends of the field setting very similar lap times at various stages of the afternoon. Although the Toro Rosso is arguably not a front-running car, Ricciardo was able to deliver a strong result by starting the race in a competitive position and then driving a measured race to the finish.
Ricciardo was understandably pleased with his afternoon, and had the following to say after the race:
“I am really pleased to score my first points of the season and to confirm the qualifying performance.After yesterday afternoon I kept calm, knowing the real work would begin today. The last time I qualified this well was sixth in Bahrain last year and then I failed to score, so today, I really wanted to show people what I could do, so it’s great for me to have had a great race but it’s especially good for the team, who have worked so hard for this. Of course, the early pit stop to change the nose affected our plans and towards the end, Massa’s Ferrari was looking bigger and bigger ahead of me! So yes, maybe I could have done even better, but for now I’ll settle for this seventh place. From the start of the season, we have had many changes in terms of personnel and it takes a while for that to gel and this weekend, it felt like everything clicked into place, after the first two race weekends were a bit up and down, but now I expect us to continue getting stronger from here on.”