LONDON (Reuters) - It will take a lot more than disqualification from his home Australian Formula One Grand Prix to wipe the smile off Red Bull new boy Daniel Ricciardo’s face.
The ever cheerful 24-year-old told the team website that being stripped of second place in Melbourne last Sunday had put “a bit of a downer” on his day but there was still plenty to be happy about.
“Actually it’s mostly positives: I did a good job in the car and I got to stand on the Australian Grand Prix podium - and no-one’s taking the sensation of doing that away,” he said.
“What happens next is outside of my ability to control but honestly, I’d rather it went down like this than have retired from the race with a mechanical problem. I’ll take a podium and a subsequent disqualification over that any day of the week.”
Red Bull said on Thursday they had submitted a formal appeal in a bid to have Ricciardo re-instated.
The Australian, who has replaced compatriot Mark Webber as team mate to quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel this season, was ruled out five hours after the race had finished when his car was found to have had an illegal fuel flow rate.
Vettel retired after three laps after problems with his car’s new turbocharged V6 Renault power unit in a race won by Mercedes’ German Nico Rosberg.
Ricciardo said he was hungry to get back on the podium.
“The RB10 surprised us by being pretty competitive in the dry and very competitive in the wet. It’s going to get much better as we dial it in over the next few races and catch up with those teams that did more miles pre-season,” he said.
”At the moment, we’re in the battle to be the second-best team. Obviously that isn’t where we want to be but it’s exceeding our expectations of only a few weeks ago.
“I think once we really get into the setup of the car, we’ll be able to close the gap to Mercedes. Obviously they’re going to improve too but I think we’re in a good position to make bigger strides.”
Red Bull, dominant last year with Vettel winning the last nine races, struggled in pre-season testing and had not done a full race simulation before arriving in Melbourne.
The second round of the season is in Malaysia next week.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond