LUCKY: Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his third placing at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.
LUCKY: Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his third placing at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. SRDJAN SUKI

Fence almost cost Ricciardo podium in Monaco

DANIEL Ricciardo's Monaco Grand Prix came perilously close to ending in the fence rather than on the podium.

The Australian skated wide at the first corner as the race restarted with a handful of laps to go, bouncing his Red Bull's left-front corner off the armco barrier.

"I just saw my parents now, and I think they had a mild heart attack," Ricciardo told foxsports.com.au. "But hey, it kept it interesting!"

Ricciardo had been closing in on Kimi Raikkonen in second place when a crash between Pascal Wehrlein and Jenson Button brought out the safety car.

The caution period was extended even further when Marcus Ericsson crashed at the first corner.

Ricciardo still felt he was able to challenge the Ferrari driver for second place but struggled to keep heat in his tyres behind the safety car, leading to his nervous moment at turn one on the restart.

"I looked at Kimi and I thought, all right, maybe I can get second here," he said.

"But I know how hard it is on these restarts. If we're behind the safety car for a long time, these tyres, no matter how soft the compound is, they're so hard to get warmed up and going again.

I knew the restart was going to be tricky and, to be honest, I wasn't that happy to see it because at the time my pace was good and I was catching Kimi. I was in a bit of a rhythm and then the safety car came.

"(Then) I hit the wall in turn one which nearly ended my race, so I wasn't too happy to see the safety car in hindsight!"

He later joked with media that he'd "touched cloth" during the moment.

"I usually race with old underwear because I know these things can happen," he said.

Despite fearing he'd sustained race-ending damage, Ricciardo was able to race on and hold off Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen for the final podium spot, the 20th of his career.

In contrast to qualifying, when the team's strategy decision relegated him to fifth on the grid - he called the timing of his sole flying lap a "stupid, silly error" - Ricciardo leapfrogged both Bottas and Verstappen through better strategy.

The Australian pitted later than both the Finn and the Dutch teen, using the extra laps to put in fast times on Pirelli's light-wearing ultrasoft tyres while Bottas and Verstappen struggled to get their harder rubber up to temperature.

"It's hard, because you have days and it all falls into place, and then other days it just feels like it's not happening," Ricciardo told foxsports.com.au.

"It's frustrating. I think I can sometimes be emotional. I've got a massive love for the sport and other times it's a massive.

"It's like a love-hate relationship a lot of the time I guess. It's hard to control all of that, and sometimes you wish more was in your control.

"When it works out it's nice, and today ... I was frustrated yesterday. I felt we had so much more to give, myself and the team.

"When you've only got one Monaco in the season you really feel like you have to capitalise on that moment. I just felt like we didn't, and today we got our chance.

"How the strategy worked out, it allowed me to get some clear air and push hard for five laps. I think at the time I was setting fastest lap, fastest lap ... that was our moment to really show everyone what our potential was."

News Corp Australia

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