Daniel Ricciardo will hold an 11-point advantage over his nearest rival for third spot in the Formula One championship for the three-week summer break.
The Australian claimed his second successive podium at Sunday’s German Grand Prix, finishing second to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, but above teammate Max Verstappen on the podium.
And while Formula One’s inevitable two-horse race for the title saw Hamilton stretch his lead to 19 points ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg, Ricciardo is 65 points further back but in control of the race of non-Mercedes drivers.
After 12 of this year’s 21 races, Ricciardo has claimed three podium finishes and 133 points despite a run of bad luck that plagued his season between Russia and Monaco.
His second successive podium finish on Sunday has built his advantage over Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to 11, while Sebastian Vettel is two points further back in fifth.
Ricciardo’s younger teammate, Verstappen – who finished third in Germany – is sixth on 120 points.
“This is two weekends in a row now with a podium,” Ricciardo said.
“So it’s awesome to close out the first part of the season.”
The team’s strong finish was their first double-podium result since the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix and moves them ahead of Ferrari in the constructor standings but behind the dominant Mercedes.
Hamilton’s win was Mercedes’ 11th of the season after he seized control of the race on the opening corner from Rosberg.
Ricciardo and Verstappen also each overtook the German Rosberg, whose race was plagued by a five-second pit penalty that ran overtime before he finished fourth.
Hamilton’s 49th career win was his sixth victory in the past seven races and fourth in succession.