Daniel Ricciardo thrilled with seventh in China & to finish on Felipe Massa's tail
Australian claimed Toro Rosso's best result for two seasons
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 14/04/13 2:38pm
The Australian had produced one of the standout qualifying performances of the nascent season so far on Saturday to vault out of the blue into the Q3 shootout before going on to qualify ahead of both Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.
And despite an early race tangle with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg which prompted an earlier-than-scheduled pitstop for a change of nose, Ricciardo still managed to maintain his grid position by the end of the race.
In addition to his first own points of 2013, seventh place was Toro Rosso's best result since the 2011 Korean GP and Ricciardo believes the strong finish establishes good momentum at the team.
"It's good, very good," the rising star told Sky Sports F1.
"I realised in Bahrain last year you can get a good qualifying but doesn't mean anything if you can't get a result in the race.
"I was quite calm after Saturday's performance and kept cool and relaxed because I knew the job was still ahead today and I'm really pleased I pulled it off.
"Not only for myself but for the team, I think it's really good momentum for us and after two weekends we forgot this is the best result we could have asked."
Despite his earlier than scheduled first stop, Ricciardo finished under two seconds behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and added: "The Ferrari was definitely getting bigger [into view].
"I was hoping for a couple more [places] to be honest, I don't think Massa was too far away, but I'll take seventh to be honest. We can't complain with that."
Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost praised his driver's stirring recovery following the early setback.
"This encouraging result was built on his good performance in qualifying," Tost reflected.
"Unfortunately, on lap 4, Daniel was involved in a collision with Rosberg and he had to pit earlier than planned as there was damage to the left front wing end plate. The pit crew did a good job, changing the nose and tyres in 7.2 seconds, which is quite quick. From then on, he produced a very good race, with plenty of overtaking manoeuvres."