Red Bull rub salt into Ricciardo's wounds after Australian GP shocker

No doubt Daniel Ricciardo was already hurting after a disastrous Renault debut at the Australian Grand Prix.

But his pain would have only intensified after watching his former team Red Bull defy the critics and land a podium in the Formula One season opener.

Ricciardo was forced to retire for the third time at his home grand prix after his Renault never recovered from damage suffered in a frenzied start which initially ripped off his front wing.

The popular Australian could only look on from the garage in frustration as ex-teammate Max Verstappen stormed to third in a Red Bull entry boasting a new and unproven Honda engine.

Daniel Ricciardo had a nightmare. (Photo by Stephen Blackberry/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Verstappen showed his class by overtaking early season title favourite Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari on the tight Albert Park track to seal his first podium in Melbourne.

It marked the first podium finish Honda has been involved in since 2008.

Ricciardo sensationally left Red Bull last year after believing he was playing second fiddle to Verstappen at the Formula One team.

However, he would have been forgiven for thinking he had made the wrong call as Red Bull toasted their success.

Listening to an ecstatic Red Bull team boss Christian Horner would not have helped ease his pain.

Honda Motorsports General Manager Masashi Yamamoto and Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner. (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)

After Red Bull rolled the dice and switched from Renault to Honda engines this year, Horner said members of the Japanese manufacturers were “in tears” at the Melbourne podium as the champagne flowed.

“It’s got good power, it’s been reliable. To pass a Ferrari, to be racing wheel to wheel on the straight with them is really positive,” he said.

“We’ve got a good base from which to start and really develop this car.

“This a fantastic injection from them (Honda).”

Mercedes dominated the season opener with Valtteri Bottas claiming victory 21 seconds ahead of his teammate, five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen’s success as Ricciardo flounders

But Verstappen threatened to overtake Hamilton in the latter stages, providing Red Bull with another shot in the arm.

“We put Lewis under pressure. To do that at this venue is really encouraging for us,” Horner said.

“It’s great motivation, and hopefully we’ll find more and more performance.”

Verstappen predicted a bright future for Red Bull in 2019 with Honda now in their corner.

“I am very pleased with that and also I think in general the engine has been performing very well without any issues, which is also very important,” he said.

“I guess time will tell if we can fight for top spot (on the podium).”

Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium. (Photo by ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)

In another dagger for Ricciardo, Verstappen said he did not feel any different without his Australian teammate by his side at the season opener.

“I always focus on myself so it’s not like something changes from my side. So no,” he said.