Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2016

Ricciardo close to 'shiok' ending

Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after the Singapore Grand Prix night race on Sept 18, 2016.
Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after the Singapore Grand Prix night race on Sept 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

Australian, whose last victory came two years ago, denied win despite dramatic late charge

In a promotional video leading up to the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was filmed learning a new Singlish word: "shiok" (cool, great).

The Australian came so close to a "shiok" ending himself at the Marina Bay Street Circuit last night.

He finished 0.488sec behind winner Nico Rosberg of Mercedes in a scintillating end to the night race.

Ricciardo also finished second in the Singapore GP last year.

But the 27-year-old, who is still looking for his first win of this Formula One season, is opting to look on the bright side.

This, as he kept audiences on tenterhooks by obliterating a deficit of 20-plus seconds in the last 14 laps.

"I'm sitting here very happy, I felt I did all that I could. If there is anything that could have been more perfect (it) was the start but Nico got off the line well," said Ricciardo.

"In the end, it was fun... I knew I would get close to Nico in the end.

"Even if the track is difficult to overtake, it was nice just to be able to push to the last lap and know that I will at least put some pressure on (Rosberg) and give the crowds a little bit of hope."

With six races left, Ricciardo, who believes wet conditions give his team wings, said the chequered flag is in sight.

He is third in the drivers' standings with 179 points, behind Mercedes duo Rosberg (273) and Lewis Hamilton (265), who finished third.

"After the race, I said on the radio to the team we will win this year. We will get a downpour somewhere and hopefully some curveballs and get the victory that we are after," said Ricciardo, whose last win came at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere, there were good outings for Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth and fifth respectively.

On a circuit with a narrow track discouraging overtaking, Raikkonen passed Hamilton expertly on the 33rd lap on the apex of Turn 10. Sparks flew as both drivers grazed tyres. But Mercedes' undercut worked and Hamilton went back ahead in the 47th lap after a Raikkonen pit stop.

Vettel, a four-time winner here, had even more overtaking to do.

He started last on the grid after a suspension problem meant he was unable to make it out of the first qualifying session.

But the German's expertise in conquering the 23-turn circuit shone through as he climbed his way back up the leader board.

The four-time world champion said: "All in all, I think it was a good race. I enjoyed it a lot. Anything can happen here. It was good fun. The car came alive at the end."

Another word Ricciardo learnt was "lepak", which means to relax or hang out in Malay.

That may be on the agenda for the next few days, but count on him to keep pushing the Mercedes drivers as he seeks a "shiok" finish to the season.

  • Additional reporting by Wang Meng Meng and Yogaraj Panditurai
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Ricciardo close to 'shiok' ending'. Print Edition | Subscribe