Sixteenth to fourth: Ricciardo produces Monza epic

Glenn Valencich

Daniel Ricciardo could not hide his delight after working his way through the field to take fourth at the Italian Grand Prix overnight.

The Red Bull driver started 16th on the grid after taking engine and gearbox penalties, and his reverse strategy - he started on the soft tyre and moved to the supersoft in the second half of the race - paid off.

The Australian's pit stop put him ahead of all four Force India and Williams cars, giving him the space and time to attack Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Ricciardo, 28, came from a long way back on the front straight to pass the Finn for fourth on the 41st lap of the race.

He almost chased down former teammate Sebastian Vettel for a podium finish, ending the race just seconds behind the German.

In an entertaining post-race interview, Ricciardo did his best to show off some Italian before making comment on his race:

"Yeah, I loved it. It was good fun," he said.

"Two of my favourite races this year have been starting from the back. Silverstone and this one. I'd love the engine penalty thing to go away but I'll make the most of it.

"It was cool, had some real pace at the end. I could see Seb, (the) podium was tempting me. I was trying. But yeah, some good overtakes in the race kept me excited.

"(I was) making some nice little comments on the radio just to keep everyone upbeat, so it was good. My engineer was good to me and the boys got the quickest pit stop, so that was good."

One of those nice little comments came when Ricciardo was told Williams driver Felipe Massa was alone ahead of him early in the race.

His four-word response to the team left the commentators in histerics:

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had his jaw dropped by Ricciardo's moves, which earned him the fan-voted F1 Driver of the Day award.

"He didn't have a great start and then he just started making his way through with some phenomenal overtaking moves," Horner told Sky Sports.

"He got a bit too much wheelspin and dropped behind so was fighting right at the back of the field. But he got his head down and made an incredible comeback.

"He's one of the best overtakers out there. His ability to brake late and still make the apex, it was Nigel Mansell-esque.

"We had a good race car today. Our strategy of running the soft tyre first really worked. To finish four seconds behind Sebastian (Vettel) after being 20 seconds down on the first lap is impressive."

Ricciardo ended the day with the fastest lap for the first time of the year after he and race winner Lewis Hamilton traded purple times late in the race.

The Australian remains fourth in the standings but stretched his lead over Raikkonen to six points courtesy of the stunning pass.

He praised the 37-year-old Raikkonen for his role in the manouvre that could have ended badly for both if the Ferrari driver had been more defensive.

"I'll give Kimi credit for racing clean and fair," Ricciardo said.

"But I'd have done the move on anyone to be honest. I was aware the deeper I got towards the front the harder overtakes would be.

"I had blinkers on for the move and was happy to pull it off."

Ricciardo also had an interesting prediction for the next race on the calendar, as unlikely as it may seem.

"I think we'll lap the field in Singapore, so (I'm) looking forward to that," Ricciardo said.

Watch the full race highlights: