Daniel Ricciardo admits he is still struggling to accept not winning Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Australian, who started third, looked on course to take advantage of Lewis Hamilton’s first-lap crash with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, by leading the opening phase of the Barcelona race.

But a three-stop strategy cost Ricciardo the chance of victory, with Max Verstappen, his new Red Bull team-mate, pitting for tyres on just two occasions, to become Formula One’s youngest-ever winner.

Riccardo was also in line to challenge Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the final step on the podium before he sustained a left-rear puncture on the penultimate lap.

“The outcome of the race was frustrating,” Ricciardo, who – despite his late puncture – crossed the line in fourth, said. “Is it easy to move on? I wouldn’t say easy, but can you move on? Absolutely.

“It has been a few days since the race, but I still wake up with it on my mind. I’m going to bed with it off my mind, but I am waking up with it on my mind. It will take a bit of time.
Part of me is happy that the team is winning again, and I think part of me is happy that everyone is super motivated and confidence is high.

“But from a personal side it was massively frustrating. Sure, it’s a team sport but you are doing it for yourself as well. It is still a hard one to take.”

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Verstappen, promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull earlier this month, turned in a masterful display to hold off the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen – twice the 18-year-old Dutchman’s age – to win Red Bull’s first race in nearly two years.
Ricciardo comfortably outscored Vettel in his first season at Red Bull, but the Australian, a three-time race winner, is not concerned Verstappen, despite his incredible Red Bull debut, will dish out the same treatment.

“Max is a serious F1 driver and that’s actually really good for me,” Ricciardo added. “It is definitely a good motivation.

“When I joined Red Bull I was up against Seb and I wanted to challenge myself and now Max is the newest challenge for me and it is a big one.

“It is good he is having this success because if I can get on top of that it is only good for me, and probably both of our careers.