Daniel Ricciardo produced a sensational drive to take advantage of the drama around him in Baku and win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing.
The Australian claimed his first victory of the 2017 season from way back in 10th on the grid with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas pipping Williams youngster Lance Stroll for second on the line.
Ricciardo opened the season with a DNF at his home race in Melbourne, however three successive third places leading into the weekend had boosted his confidence.
He hit the wall in the final qualifying session on Saturday to leave him 10th on the grid, but he soon moved through the field with impressive overtaking moves.
Despite slipping back to 17th at one point early on, penalties to the likes of former leader Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel left him sitting pretty at the head of the field – a lead he never looked like relinquishing.
The 27-year-old enthused, “We dropped back to P17 at one point. Did I think I’d win then? I’d have put all my money on that not happening.
“On the cool-down lap I was giggling like a schoolboy. It’s unreal to have managed to get the win.
“I have never really had a boring win and today was certainly not that. After all the chaos and the red flag I felt that a podium was in reach but then once Lewis had to pit and Seb had the penalty I knew the win was possible.
“I kind of said yesterday that after my qualifying mistake and starting in 10th place, today was going to be a race of no mistakes, capitalising on moments and opportunities and I felt like we did everything we could.
“The odds of a podium or win got pushed even further back when we had to make an unscheduled pit stop early in the race and I think I was back in 17th place. Then things fell in to place quite nicely and on every re-start I was able to make up positions and make it happen.
“The last re-start was the most important and I think it was Stroll, Hulkenberg, Massa and me, all nearly four wide but I managed to get third and I think that was, in a way, the winning move. Once I saw the gap I was going to do everything I could to brake as late as possible and get that position.
“It was a real shame for Max today but it is great to get this victory for everyone in the team. I felt like this weekend was better for us overall and hopefully both of us can be on the podium together soon. What a day, It’s crazy and it’s slowly sinking in.”
Azerbaijan GP result:
1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 2:03:55.573
2. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +3.904s
3. Lance Stroll Williams +4.009s
4. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +5.976s
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +6.188s
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 153
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 139
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 111
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 92
5. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 73