Red Bull's Ricciardo denied Australian GP podium finish


Melbourne (AFP)

Try as he might, Daniel Ricciardo could not find a way past Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to grab a place on the podium in his home Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.

Ricciardo in his Red Bull strove to pass Raikkonen over the latter stages, but found the implacable Finn a stubborn obstacle on the notoriously tight Albert Park street circuit.

Ricciardo was seeking to become the first home driver to win the Australian Grand Prix since it became part of the world championship calendar in 1985.

Alan Jones was the last to top the podium in his home grand prix, in 1980, a year when he also was the last Australian to win the Formula One world championship.

Ricciardo was forced to start eighth off the grid after a three-place penalty for driving too fast under red flag conditions during Friday's practice.

"I'm happy with the way I drove today and we had a very fast race car," he said.

"It's not often I sit behind someone for most of the race but it's a tight track and one of the more tricky ones for passing.

"There were a couple of times I had a look, at turn three, but Kimi was wise to that and could see what I was planning.

"Towards the end I applied more pressure on him but he was able to up the pace as well. I think we're pretty close with Ferrari and our race pace is strong."

Dutch team-mate Max Verstappen had a few issues on the way to finishing sixth after starting off fourth on the grid.

"The start was OK but I think at about lap four or five I sustained a bit of damage on the car, I'm not sure what from as I didn't have any contact or hit any kerbs hard," Verstappen said.

"When I jumped out of the car I could see some damage and I also think something broke off, so we need to investigate what that was.

"The issue made it hard to hold on mid-corner, which eventually led to me spinning and then struggling for the rest of the race."