DANIEL RICCIARDO admitted he has strengthened his bargaining position with Red Bull by winning the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo started sixth after a miraculous engine rebuild saw him only just squeak into qualifying at all. But the Australian pitted behind the safety car while the leaders stayed out and found himself on fresh rubber in the closing stages of the race.
Ricciardo sliced through the field to claim the sixth victory of his career in impressive fashion. The 28-year-old is in the final year of his contract at Red Bull and is in protracted talks with the team over an extension.
But both Ferrari and Mercedes are currently scheduled to have vacancies next year and Ricciardo is weighing up his options. And yet another fine display of overtaking is unlikely to have done his position in negotiations any harm. "I guess the plan was to try and hold off still a little bit,” Ricciardo said. “Getting the win is nice. We were in a really strong place in the second half of the race.
“When we get to Europe it will probably balance out. All three teams have had moments, it is interesting, fun.
“I don't think today hurt my position so it is a good day."
And when asked which team Ricciardo should drive for next year, former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg said: “I’d go to Ferrari. He knows he can beat Vettel and it’s the best car at the moment.”
Ricciardo’s six wins have all come from starting outside the top three, something he alluded to on the podium when he admitted he rarely wins “boring” races. And given that his engine blew up less than three hours before qualifying, Ricciardo was quick to recognise his good fortune.
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