The significance of Daniel Ricciardo’s drought-breaking podium at the Eifel Grand Prix is better defined by what he didn’t do, rather than what he did.
Across 29 podiums at Red Bull, it became customary for the Australian to stand on the steps and swig champagne from his sweaty boot — otherwise known as doing a ‘shoey’.
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More than two years after his last podium ‘shoey’, Ricciardo had the opportunity to do another on Sunday after finishing third at the Nurburgring.
Only he didn’t.
Caught up in the excitement of earning his first podium since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, and Renault’s first since 2011, Ricciardo completely forgot.
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The shoey didn’t completely slip through the cracks, however. Ricciardo soon realised he forgot his signature move and acted quickly to make amends.
“The shoe is off,” he said in his room after the race. “I think I was so caught up in the podium, and obviously it’s been a while, everyone afterwards was like, ‘Why didn’t you do a shoey?’ And I was like, ‘oh man.’
“So anyway, here it is. Belated, but better late than never.”
Ricciardo can be forgiven for spacing on the shoey because it’s been a long road back to a top three spot for the 31-year-old
This was a podium that, at times, looked like it was never going to happen.
Ricciardo’s first season at Renault was full of disappointment — the team appeared to be progressing at a snail’s pace as he finished in the top five just once, and had four retirements.
This year has seen the team vastly improve, but even then, fourth-place started to look like the ceiling after podium near-misses at Silverstone, Spa and Mugello.
Some luck needed to go Ricciardo’s way and on Sunday it finally did, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas retiring from the race with a power failure that handed him third.
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He then celebrated the achievement just like he did in the earlier stages of his career, when the ‘shoey’ was yet to be introduced to the F1 circuit.
There should be no surprise because, by Ricciardo’s own admission, this was a podium that felt “like the first all over again”.
“The feeling I have now is like that really happy shock, I guess,” he said.
Ricciardo will still leave for McLaren at the end of the year — a decision he made after a lacklustre 2019. Nonetheless, he remained adamant that he wanted to end his stay on a high rather than leave with his tail in-between his legs.
Sunday’s result ensures he will do that.
“When I signed on the dotted line for this Renault contract it was to be up here and get a podium by year two,” Ricciardo said.
“Obviously next year is another story, I’m moving on, but I think this really does cap a pretty cool story that we’ve had and shared for these two years. And the good news is it’s not over yet.”
Ricciardo then had a classy response when asked if he had any mixed emotions about joining McLaren given the improvements Renault has made this season.
“To be honest, I’m obviously okay with it and very positive and excited for next year, but I’d much rather end on a high,” he said.
“People think that, yeah it’s easier to leave if you’re struggling and moving onto something better, but I don’t want to struggle. Period.
“I want to have success in every race so to leave here with success and on a positive with the team with a lot of excitement and happiness — to see them all today is cool.
“I’m okay with everything right now and just really happy we’ve had a successful season.”