Despite his recent struggles, Ricciardo was clearly in a confident mood during the Mexican Grand Prix – to the point where he was apparently showboating before overtakes
Daniel Ricciardo produced one of the comedy moments of the Formula 1 season which went unseen during the live broadcast of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Aussie was voted driver of the day for an excellent performance, which saw him start 11th and finish four places higher despite a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision with Yuki Tsunoda. It was a remarkable display considering the dark place he was in just a week earlier.
Ricciardo looked a broken man in an interview after the United States Grand Prix. He has been under intense scrutiny after struggling to get momentum with McLaren and will drop off the grid in 2023 – after that race in Texas, he admitted: "I don't know how I'm continuing."
But he was clearly enjoying himself again in Mexico City. After making his medium tyres last a long time, he switched to softs for the final stint and, despite that time penalty for the Tsunoda incident, cut through the pack to finish seventh, with enough of a gap over Esteban Ocon to stay there after the penalty was applied.
It was when he was overtaking the Frenchman in the first place that he produced a moment that has since gone viral. The camera on top of his McLaren caught the moment he pointed his finger at Ocon's car and pretended to shoot it, before pulling out to overtake the Alpine.
A clip of the moment went viral across F1 fans on social media. One viewer wrote: "This has to be the first race in so so many others Danny was having fun. You love to see it." And another added: "These moments of brilliance from him remind me of back when he was at Red Bull."
As much as he clearly enjoyed the overtake on a personal level, it also meant a lot for his team. The fact he finished above Ocon with team-mate Lando Norris also in the points meant McLaren moved closer to Alpine in the constructors' championship.
The two teams are locked in a tight fight for fourth place, known as being 'best of the rest' behind the so-called 'big three' teams Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. Just seven points split McLaren and Alpine with two races remaining, though the Enstone-based outfit still keep the advantage.
They were let down by another retirement for Fernando Alonso, who has had some awful luck this year in terms of breakdowns. "We know reliability will be the key in our championship battle and it's something that has let us down after showing such a strong level of performance in recent races," admitted Alpine chief Otmar Szafnauer. "I'm confident we can rectify these issues going into the final two races of the season."
Get email updates with the day’s biggest stories