Red bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who sadly won just once in 2016 bags the top spot in this F1 season.
Red Bull struggled with Ferrari’s pace at the beginning of the season until Renault introduced an engine modification at Monaco. Nonetheless, Riccairdo took the race to the red cars. Eventually, beating them to a place on the front row in China. He was leading, but unfortunately, a tire lets go.
That meant it was the other Red Bull, in Daniil Kvyat’s hands, which reached the podium first. But Kvyat lost his part as Ricciardo’s team mate after poorly compromising his race in Russia. This ended up being Ricciardo’s lone pointless race in a season where he never failed to see the chequered flag.
In Spain, Ricciardo took the front when the Mercedes drivers battled each other off. But with Red Bull on edge to square up the threat from Ferrari’s two-strategy approach, Ricciardo ended up fourth. His frustration worsened in Monaco, where he dominated the weekend but lost the win when his team cushioned a tyre change.
All through the season Ricciardo’s strongest card was his qualifying performance. It wasn’t until Silverstone that he qualified behind his colleague, and he finished the year with a combined 15-6 edge over Verstappen and Kvyat.
As Red Bull outplaced Ferrari as the second-fastest team, Ricciardo took the battle to Mercedes when the open door introduced itself.He snatched second in Germany (thanks to some degree to team orders) and split the Mercedes in Singapore.
It took until Malaysia for Ricciardo to guarantee a late first win of 2016. This was a showcase not only of his one-lap performance – he got through Q1 on medium compound tyres, saving fresh softer rubber for the race. However, his racecraft, as he shrugged off a wild attack from his team mate.
There’s no doubt Ricciardo will face increased competition from the tenant of the other Red Bull seat next year. Verstappen proved to be a grave risk in the final races of 2016. Ricciardo will have to dig deep to maintain his dominance next year.