Securing his first top-five result of the season in Singapore, Daniel Ricciardo appreciated Lando Norris’ efforts to “force Max [Verstappen] on the wet patch” and help him make up another position.
Ricciardo lined up P16 on the Marina Bay grid, the Australian 10 places behind his team-mate after yet another disappointing qualifying session.
But with the grand prix starting an hour late and on a wet track after a deluge came down 90 minutes before the scheduled start, there was always the prospect for making up places – or getting it wrong.
Ricciardo did the former, up from 16th to fifth in the two-hour timed grand prix.
He made big gains to run P6 on lap 35, the Aussie behind Verstappen with Norris just ahead.
With the Safety Car out a lap later, Yuki Tsunoda crashing his AlphaTauri, all three drivers pitted and when racing resumed were again running with Norris ahead of Verstappen and Ricciardo.
Verstappen tried to attack the British driver at the restart but got it wrong, off the track and down an escape road.
That elevated Ricciardo to fifth behind his team-mate, his first top-five finish of the championship.
“We are very happy, it’s top five for both cars – it’s been a very long time,” he said. “Finally we’ve made a good Sunday.
“What can I say? We were very mature, patient with a lot of the calls and not being too keen on the slicks when it was very tempting to.
“And then everything kind of fell to our favour with Safety Cars and put ourselves in a good position.
“Lando forced Max on the wet patch that promoted me another position, so it’s just a big team day.
“Lots of teamwork!”
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Verstappen, though, insists he did not make a mistake, rather his RB18 bottomed out as he hit the brakes into the corner.
“We were fifth and trying to get past Lando in fourth and as soon as I got next to him I braked, not even too late but I bottomed out,” he explained.
“I’ve struggled with ground contact before and there, when I was off the racing line, it was probably even bumpier.
“As soon as I braked, the front wheels jumped in the air and that was it. I just kept driving straight ahead.
“I had to pit again because of the massive vibrations, put on new tyres and got back into the points from last place.”
Ricciardo is up to P12 in the Drivers’ standings after the Singapore Grand Prix with Norris P7.
The double points haul allowed McLaren to overhaul Alpine in the Constructors’, ahead by four points with five races remaining.