Ricciardo pleased Hamilton didn’t catch Ocon

Date published: August 8 2021 - Henry Valantine

Esteban Ocon and Lewis Hamilton on the podium of the Hungarian GP, August 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo says he was happy to see another first-time winner in Formula 1 after his former team-mate Esteban Ocon took victory in Hungary.

Ocon took advantage of a hectic start around the Hungaroring and ended up leading the race from lap five onwards after Lewis Hamilton had dropped to the back having pitted after everyone else for dry tyres.

The reigning World Champion was on a charge through the field after that, lapping faster than anyone else by margins of up to seconds at a time as he tried to reel in those ahead.

Ocon’s Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso gave Hamilton what the Mercedes driver called “hell” as he tried to get past, but ultimately that staunch defence appeared to hand the Frenchman his first victory in Formula 1.

Hamilton came back to finish P3 on the road before Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification bumped him up to second, but Ricciardo was pleased to see a new face on the top step of the podium as the Briton was forced to wait a while longer for his 100th win in F1.

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“The first victory is special. The emotions are strong and especially after a race like that, it’s crazy,” said Ricciardo, quoted by NextGen-Auto.

“There are huge sensations and obviously I’m happy for him because the experience of winning an F1 grand prix is something we dream of all our lives as drivers.

“He has his first success now, he can say one of his dreams has come true. I don’t want to say it like this but in a race like that it’s pretty cool that Lewis didn’t win by making the most of the opportunity.

“I’m not trying to be negative about Lewis, what I’m trying to say is that Ocon took it and someone got to live his dream.

“He got his first Formula 1 win, which I’m sure he’s been dreaming of since he was five or six years old.

“When you’ve worked pretty much all your life for this, I’m glad that at least someone can make the most of this opportunity. For that, I’m glad he won.

“I’m glad it’s another first-time winner, it’s nice to see.”

The McLaren driver’s race was effectively ended after he was spun around following contact at Turn 1 on the opening lap, leaving him struggling towards the back of the field in Hungary.

The Australian revealed on Instagram after the race that the damage sustained was too much to allow him to be competitive in the race, and that he “needed a beer” after a tough first half of the season at his new team.