Daniel Ricciardo says his Red Bull “came to life” in the Chinese GP after he added front downforce with a wing adjustment at his second pitstop.
The Australian struggled for front grip in the first part of the race, during which he was caught and passed by both teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
After the change the Australian was much more comfortable, and was able to reel in Verstappen and chase him to the flag. However once stuck in the Dutchman’s dirty air he couldn’t make further progress, Verstappen himself struggling behind Romain Grosjean’s Haas which was a lap down.
“That first stint was frustrating,” Ricciardo said.
“We just couldn’t keep on top of the front tyres, we killed them quite quickly and kind of got eaten up by the others. I was trying to hang on, obviously, but I don’t think I was a fight I was ever going to come out winning.
“The second pitstop allowed us then to make a change. It came to life. We gave it some front wing, got the front tyres working, and we were a lot of quicker.
“We got close to Max, and then we put ourselves in his position, struggling with the grip. It’s frustrating to be there, but not close enough to pull off the move. Close but not close enough, so we’ll move on.
“I’m happy to have completed the race and gone through the motions, I’m satisfied with that.”
Earlier Ricciardo had provided one of the highlights of the race when he touched wheels with Vettel as pair battled for position.
He later joked that he initiated the contact on purpose to provide a little excitement.
“I was honestly a bit bored so I just thought let’s bang some wheels and get the crowd excited!,” he joked.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t intentional, but I knew there was no harm done. A little bit of a smoke for the fans.”