Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull can be proud of its performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix after claiming the best result of his Formula 1 career on Sunday.
The Aussie, who was disqualified from the season opener in Melbourne after finishing second on the road and endured a nightmare Malaysian Grand Prix, clinched fourth under the Sakhir circuit's floodlights and only narrowly missed out on a podium despite starting 13th.
Ricciardo finished less than half a second behind Force India's Sergio Perez at the finish but beat world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel after passing him during a hectic final stint, and said the result was as satisfying as finishing on the rostrum.
"We have to be proud of fourth," he told NBC Sports television after the race. "They [the Force Indias] were quick in a straight line so it took me a couple of laps to get past [Nico] Hulkenberg.
"It was a really good race, [I was] always involved in battles and having a crack. They are the races we love.
"I personally love it and I'm sure all the other drivers [agree] if they can have a race like that and are in battles the whole time it's the best feeling.
"Obviously it would be nice to be on the podium but with the race I had, fourth was just as good."
Vettel eventually finished the race in sixth after being unable to replicate his team-mate's combative end to the race, and had complained of a lack of straightline speed throughout the grand prix.
"I'm not the kind of guy that wants to find a reason for everything, even though I'm a racing driver," he said when asked why he struggled.
"We were simply not good enough today.
"If they [Mercedes] were slower down the straights, then obviously [Red Bull could turn the deficit around] very soon.
"But at the moment they have a strong package, we know that, so we have a lot of work ahead of us."