Daniel Ricciardo in 'crazy' F1 drama after usurping teammate

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Daniel Ricciardo, pictured here in action at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo beat McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the first time this F1 season. Image: Getty

Daniel Ricciardo is a much happier man after beating McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the first time this season at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton hunted down Max Verstappen to win Sunday's race for a record-equalling fifth year in a row and go 14 points clear at the top of the standings.

'BROKEN RECORD': McLaren boss calls out Daniel Ricciardo

'SITTING DUCK': Max Verstappen rages over 'unbelievable' mistake

Hamilton's Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third in a repeat of the podium from last weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finished fourth, with Mexican Sergio Perez fifth for Red Bull and Ricciardo enjoying arguably his best drive yet for McLaren in sixth, two places ahead of teammate Norris.

McLaren ordered Norris to let Ricciardo pass him late in the race - a huge shock after the opposite occurred at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

“It was a better weekend,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports.

“The start was good, and that got me in front of a couple of faster cars … that meant I had to defend pretty much the whole race.

“We didn’t have the pace today, but it was nice to at least hold off a faster car and just put a better weekend together.

“I’m happier … it was a smoother weekend, and definitely the best one of the year so far.”

However the Aussie driver made the "crazy" admission that he still isn't up to full speed in his new McLaren.

“I’m still learning, it sounds crazy to say that but still learning how to be better with this car," he added.

"The race was good. We do the race five more times a day and I think six is the best we can finish.

“Every car ahead was faster, and even Carlos (Sainz) behind was faster. So getting him at the start was critical and that allowed me to finish sixth. 

"The team executed a good two stops. We changed the plan later in the race and it was the right call."

Daniel Ricciardo, pictured here in action during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo in action during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton makes more F1 history

Hamilton's 98th victory on Sunday, coming the day after he'd earned his landmark 100th pole position, was his third in four races as he and his Mercedes team delivered a strategic masterclass after Red Bull's Verstappen, who finished second, seized the lead at the first corner.

The breakthrough came when Hamilton made a second pitstop with 23 laps to go, returning on fresh tyres but some 22 seconds behind his Dutch rival.

Hamilton rapidly closed the gap, defying computer predictions that he would take until the last lap, to sweep past his helpless rival with six to spare in a re-run of his epic chase of Verstappen at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Such a close start... and then after that just hunting," said Hamilton, the first to succeed from pole this season and now a six-times winner at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"It was a long way to come back from 20-odd seconds back but it was a good gamble, a really great strategy by the team."

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Verstappen, who pitted for fresh tyres after he had lost the lead to secure a bonus point for fastest lap, said he could see it coming.

"Bit of a sitting duck... we were just clearly lacking pace. I tried everything I could."

with AAP

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