Being stripped of an historic podium finish at his home grand prix may have left a bitter taste, but Daniel Ricciardo reckons it’s only a matter of time before he’s sipping sweet champagne again.
The Perth-born driver was sensationally disqualified from his second-placing in last Sunday’s season-opener in Melbourne for breaching the category’s new fuel flow rules.
Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, confirmed on Friday that Red Bull had officially lodged an appeal against the ruling shortly before the 96-hour deadline.
Ricciardo’s fate now lies in the hands of the FIA’s appeals board, which will sit at its Paris headquarters in the next few weeks.
But until then, the 24-year-old is eager to repeat his success with the next round in Malaysia barely a week away.
“Albert Park’s made me hungry to get on the podium again – and I think we’ve got a really good chance of doing it,” Ricciardo told Red Bull’s website.
“The RB10 surprised us by being pretty competitive in the dry and very competitive in the wet.
“It’s going to get much better as we dial it in over the next few races and catch up with those teams that did more miles pre-season.
“At the moment, we’re in the battle to be the second-best team. Obviously that isn’t where we want to be but it’s exceeding our expectations of only a few weeks ago.
“I think once we really get into the set-up of the car, we’ll be able to close the gap to Mercedes. Obviously they’re going to improve too, but I think were in a good position to make bigger strides.”
While Ricciardo said his disqualification put “a bit of a downer” on what had been a brilliant day, becoming the first Australian to stand on the podium at a home grand F1 prix was a “genuinely unbelievable moment” and one he won’t forget in a hurry.
“I still went out to catch up with a couple of mates, but it’s fair to say the mood wasn’t as wild as it might have been,” he said.
“It’s not how I imagined celebrating after my first F1 podium.”
Ricciardo said he took mostly positives out of the race – won by Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and in which his four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel retired just five laps in with engine problems.
“What happens next is outside of my ability to control but honestly, I’d rather it went down like this than have retired from the race with a mechanical problem,” he said.
“I’ll take a podium and a subsequent disqualification over that any day of the week.”