Daniel Ricciardo took a cautious approach to the start of his Malaysian GP, a costly attitude which led the Aussie to lose ground at the outset on the front-runners.
Following Kimi Raikkonen’s demise even before the race got underway, Red Bull Racing was left to challenge poleman Lewis Hamilton off the line when the lights went green.
While Verstappen was hot on the heels of the leading Mercedes in the opening laps, Ricciardo was left with a fast-moving Valtteri Bottas to contend with.
Battling the Finn, and eventually coming out on top after eight laps, was costly however for Ricciardo who lost ground to his team mate and Hamilton.
In hindsight, he reckoned his line into Turn 1 at the start had been too conservative.
- Verstappen: ‘Taking an extra risk was my only chance’
“You’re always hoping for better if you don’t win, and especially if your team-mate wins, but I’m not too disappointed,” he said.
“The only thing is the start, when Valtteri chose the outside. It was the better line to take… the inside at the end was probably not the best choice – it was more conservative.
“The front two were too far away to pressure on, my pace was pretty good, I was peeling the gap back, then on Softs they pulled out the gap.”
Racing in relative isolation at the half-way mark, Ricciardo was informed that a charging Sebastian Vettel was on his way to catch him.
The Honey Badger then focused on defending his position from the rapid red car behind, a feat he successfully achieved.
“My race then was holding on, I was satisfied to do that, not too discouraged,” he added.
“Max did really well. I’m happy to leave on the podium, I won last year, it’s never been my favourite track, so I’m happy to move on.
“I think even Seb showed it, his pace, if both Ferraris started at the front, they’d have been hard to beat.
“Suzuka, Austin, we can be there… in hot conditions we’re not looking too bad, at least to stay on this podium a few more times.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter