Ricciardo rues 'double whammy heavyweight punch' in Chinese GP

Daniel Ricciardo believes he drove one of the races of his life following the 'punch to the stomach' of his early puncture in Formula 1's Chinese Grand Prix

Ricciardo rues 'double whammy heavyweight punch' in Chinese GP

From second on the Shanghai grid, Ricciardo powered past polesitter Nico Rosberg into Turn 1.

But on lap three the Australian's Red Bull collected a left-rear puncture from debris following earlier incidents, handing the lead, and ultimately victory, to Rosberg.

From 18th following the safety car that followed for his blowout, Ricciardo went on to claim his third consecutive fourth position this season.

"I remember the second lap, there was a little bit of debris here and there, but it didn't seem like there was one big bit which I caught or anything, so let's say it [the puncture] was still unexpected," said Ricciardo.

"Then coming through Turns 11 and 12 before the long back straight I could feel the rear start to slide, so I went on the radio straight away and said that I thought the rears were finished.

"But in the back of my mind it came really suddenly, so I suspected something, and as soon as I got on the straight I could feel the car start to wobble.

"I looked in the mirror and then the tyre went. So unlucky I guess.

"With the safety car it put me even further back, so it was like a double whammy which felt like getting punched in the stomach by a heavyweight.

"But in the end I think the second part of the race was probably one of the best races of my life."

Daniil Kvyat still took third in the sister Red Bull and Ricciardo is sure the team is now back in regular podium contention.

"It [the car] is really promising right now," added Ricciardo.

"We're three races in and every weekend we've shown a strength at some point, and it's been a strength we didn't think we'd have at this point in the year.

"It definitely feels more like 2014 where we do have potential.

"I definitely feel I would've been spraying champagne, but part of me is smiling inside because I know that can happen more times this year.

"It's not going to be the last opportunity, so it's really good and we'll keep fighting."

Team principal Christian Horner feels Ricciardo could certainly have claimed the runner-up spot but for the puncture.

"In his unluckiness, he was lucky it happened right at the end of sector three," said Horner.

"But to compound it the safety car came out which screwed him completely and put him back to 18th.

"Then his recovery from there - to pass [Kimi] Raikkonen, [Lewis] Hamilton, all those guys - was fantastic.

"I don't think he could have challenged for the win, but he was comfortably the second fastest car.

"I think he could have finished second."

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