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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

The podium that wasn’t – ten years on from Ricciardo's Albert Park heartbreak

Ten years ago on an overcast Melbourne day, Daniel Ricciardo created a slice of Australian Formula 1 history. The then 24-year-old became the first Australian to finish on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix, sending a packed Albert Park crowd into hysterics.


However, five hours later the podium was stripped from him, after it was found that his Red Bull RB10 exceeded fuel flow regulations.


It was a cruel blow to the Aussie hero who was racing for Red Bull for the very first time, and has left Australian F1 fans still without a home driver on the podium at an Australian Grand Prix in the World Championship era.


Reflecting on the tenth anniversary of the podium that wasn’t this weekend at Albert Park, Ricciardo told The Roar that in his mind, it still counts as a podium.


“Obviously at the time of standing on the podium and all that, I thought I had it,” Ricciardo said. “So I think that’s what I still hold on to in terms of, you know, in that moment in time, I stood on a home podium and the crowd all thought I had the podium at the time… so I felt it and that was all real.


“It’s crazy to think that was ten years ago but we’re still here. We’re still trying.”


Ricciardo returns to the Australian Grand Prix as a full-time driver for the first time since 2022, and along with Oscar Piastri, is at the centre of the local fans’ attention.


(Photo by the FIA)


And while Ricciardo realistically might not be in with a shot for a podium this year, Piastri certainly is.


After a strong rookie season last year saw him finish ninth in the Championship with two podiums and a sprint win to his name, the Melbourne driver has continued that form into 2024 with two solid points finishes.


Piastri was 13 years old when Ricciardo had his podium stripped from him, and it’s an event he still remembers well.


“I remember watching the race on TV. And I mean, similar kind of thing as well,” Piastri said.

“When I saw he got disqualified… ‘Ah, he finished second, it’s all right’. So I kind of went through on a much, much lower scale, the same kind of thing. I saw an Aussie on the podium and that’s all I remember from that day.


“So, yeah, pretty wild to be racing around the same track ten years later with the same guy I was watching on TV. It’s pretty cool. Hopefully, we can both have a good weekend and make the home crowd proud.”


Piastri enters his second Australian Grand Prix in a much more relaxed mindset in his second season, something which has caught the eye of his team boss, Zak Brown.


The McLaren CEO said that after witnessing his rise in his first season, he is already seeing him continue to grow further in the early parts in 2024, not only on the track but off the track as well.


“Last year was… a very difficult start to the year,” Brown said.


“So, in addition to having the pressure of being a rookie and then coming to your first home race, you’re also in a race car that’s not that strong, so I think he’s now got a year under his belt and he knows what to expect.


“He’s got a much better race car that he’s sitting in. And so he’s definitely enjoying it and nice to see him maturing. He’s already a mature young man, but you can definitely see a year on he’s got a higher level of confidence because he knows what to expect. And I think that’ll just drive even better performance with the helmet on.”


Piastri and Ricciardo will line up at opposite ends of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, with Piastri starting sixth and Ricciardo lining up 18th.


This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here

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