Daniel Ricciardo says he is hoping for more close on-track battles this season, after a dramatic fight with Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of last weekend’s German Grand Prix.
The Aussie appreciates the praise from Alonso after their wheel-to-wheel scrap, adding that he is pleased he can demonstrate that he can race hard but fair.
“When there is respect amongst drivers in the paddock, you have had a good fight with someone and it has been clean, hard and fair, both drivers take satisfaction,” he said.
“Whether you win or lose the battle, you still have a sense of satisfaction if you have been in a good fight. Obviously to hear it from someone like Fernando [Alonso], world champion and – let’s say – a leader of the sport in a way, it is nice.
“It is nice to get that respect from someone like that and it is nice to know that what I have learned in my years has served me well. The race craft I have learned and now put to work and has been acknowledged. It is cool; it makes me want to have more battles.
“It was fun. If he wants to have another tussle, I think we will both enjoy it. The main thing is we both enjoyed it and had fun, we weren’t fighting for a podium but it was a pretty good battle.”
“It is important to know someone can race hard but fair and it was nice to get some compliments from him and in the paddock, to start to gain respect. Coming into the season, that is what I wanted to do.
“Results aside, I wanted to be with this group now. With the drivers who expect to be running at the front, will be racing hard and will be fast. You want to be amongst that group of drivers.”
He showed that despite his nice guy image, he can be a tough opponent when battling with another driver. “As a racer, we all have a lot of pride in ourselves,” Ricciardo explained.
“You can’t get pushed around really in anything you do. I think as well because I smile a lot, I seem like a friendly guy and a lot of people if they see my actions, my face a lot of the time probably think I’m a little bit soft, I’m just nice, I wouldn’t hurt anyone.
“It’s nice for me to demonstrate this year that I can race, race hard and I’m definitely not intimidated by anyone or anything on the track.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic