He only managed a solitary championship point for his battle from the back of the grid, but Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo thinks his 10th place at the Austrian Grand Prix will be a shot in the arm for his struggling Red Bull team.
Ricciardo had to race from 18th on the grid, after copping a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his engine allocation for the season.
The 25-year-old West Australian also had the weight of an additional five-second time penalty on his shoulders.
But a late switch to super-soft rubber saw him surge into the points in the closing stages, to be narrowly beaten to ninth place by Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Ricciardo reckons his fighting effort doubles as a timely morale boost for Red Bull’s toughest weekend of this Formula 1 season, as they prepare for next month’s British and Hungarian events.
“I look that we started at the back and got one point off probably our hardest circuit on the calendar, in terms of where we think the car performs,” Ricciardo told ESPN.
“So coming to Silverstone and Budapest with no penalties we should be well inside the points and hopefully fight for a top five.”
Team boss Christian Horner said one point was the maximum that could have been expected.
“We pretty much achieved the optimum,” he said.
“I think Ricciardo actually drove a good race starting on the harder tyre, which is about half a second slower than the softer of the two.
“He hung in there, then had to incur the five-second frustration at the pit stop before the boys could change the tyres.
“Without that he would have beaten Perez today. All things considered, for where he had to start and the handicap he had I think he did a good job.”