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F1 NEWS 

Fernando Alonso praises 'unbelievable' F1 rival Daniel Ricciardo

Fernando Alonso battles Daniel Ricciardo, German GP

Fernando Alonso reckons Formula 1 rival Daniel Ricciardo is doing an "unbelievable" job since stepping up from Toro Rosso to the championship-winning Red Bull outfit.

Canadian Grand Prix winner Ricciardo lies third in the drivers' championship, nine points ahead of Ferrari driver Alonso, and 24 points clear of Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Double world champion Alonso, who battled wheel-to-wheel with Ricciardo for fifth in the closing stages of Sunday's German GP, said the Australian had surprised everyone with his consistently strong form over the first 10 races of the season.

"Daniel is a surprise from Australia - I think he is doing unbelievable," Alonso said.

"He is 7-3 [ahead in results] in the first 10 races with Sebastian, which probably not one of us suspected [would happen], so he is doing a very good job.

"He's driving fantastically, and in Germany he was battling very smart, always taking my slipstream after I passed him, and braking very late, attacking very late, and [he] never missed the corner.

"He was very, very smart, [with] respect also with the rules. It was a great fight."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner also praised the fighting spirit Ricciardo showed in recovering from a first-corner excursion while avoiding the incident between Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Massa at Hockenheim.

"It was great racing with Fernando and Daniel," Horner said.

"The great thing to watch from our perspective was that Daniel did not give up and you could see the fighting spirit within him.

"The passes were Nigel Mansell-esque in many respects.

"I think really we had a demonstration of F1 racing at its best."

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