Fernando Alonso has given great credit to the driving of his Formula One rival Daniel Ricciardo, describing the job he is doing in his first season with Red Bull Racing as 'unbelievable'.
The Spaniard enjoyed a tremendous battle with the Australian commencing on lap 60 of the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim this weekend.
Coming out of the pits on a fresh set of tyres, it seemed a simple enough pass on Ricciardo was imminent as Alonso came up behind him. But Ricciardo's defence was absolutely brilliant as he refused to let the Ferrari through.
Alonso said: "Daniel is a surprise from Australia - I think he is doing unbelievable."
It took Alonso three laps until he finally took the position as Ricciardo, who did lose the position but regained it at one stage, drove with the experience of a veteran. And Alonso thinks the way that he is competing against a four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, is something to be recognised.
"He is 7-3 [ahead in results] in the first 10 races with Sebastian, which probably not one of us suspected. He is doing a very good job," he continued.
"He's driving fantastically, and in Germany he was battling very smart, always taking my slipstream after I passed him, and braking very late, attacking very late, and never missed the corner.
"He was very, very smart, [with] respect also with the rules. It was a great fight."
The duel with Alonso was not the first time that Ricciardo has displayed his ability to mix it up with the world champions on the grid. And it will most certainly not be the last.
It was a warning sign to the rest of the field to say that when his car is at a greater stage of competition, he will be a huge problem. The 25-year-old is third in the driver standings, ahead of his team-mate Vettel by a 24-point margin, while he heads Alonso by nine.
Had he not been caught up in the first lap incident between Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen where he was forced way back down the grid, it could have been a far more successful weekend than the sixth place overall finish in the end.
But Ricciardo out-qualified Vettel in Germany and is really putting pressure on the German who came home in fourth place.
For Alonso, he continues to get the most out of the under-performing Ferrari car and his run of top-ten finishes this season carries on to the Hungarian Grand Prix. He is fourth in the drivers' championship and is spear-heading the Ferrari charge in the constructors' standings as Kimi Raikkonen fails to live up to expectations.
Ferrari are five points behind Williams now in fourth place as Valtteri Bottas leads the charge for them. It will be interesting to see which of the two will come out on top at the end of the season but the key will be as to whether Raikkonen or Massa can pull their weight for their teams.
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