RICCIARDO HAS BEEN RAPID ALL WEEKEND AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
The Australian driver equalled his best result for Renault with fourth, and was closing in on third placed Max Verstappen in the final laps.
Daniel Ricciardo was all smiles after capping off his brilliant weekend with a blistering fourth-placed finish at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Aussie F1 star recorded the fastest lap of the race by any driver in his final run around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit as he celebrated a return to form after disappointing 11th and 14th placings in his past two grands prix.
It was easily Renault’s best day of the year as Esteban Ocon crossed the line one spot behind Ricciardo in fifth.
“What a race and definitely an excellent result for the team,” Ricciardo said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had the fastest lap of the race, so that was also nice.
“My engineer told me what the current fastest was and I thought. ‘I got this!’ It was a proper big lap; I used all the track and went for it. Maybe it was better than my qualifying lap yesterday!”
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Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul wasn’t getting carried away but was still pleased with the weekend.
“We knew Spa would suit our package and there were big points at stake. We executed our plan all the way through the weekend,” he said.
“In addition to the strong finishing positions that brings us closer to the teams ahead in the championship, the fastest lap today by Daniel rounds off in style the result and I see that as a reward to everyone in Viry who has been working so hard for several years to get on top of the complexity of the power unit.”
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Ricciardo was hunting Verstappen in the dying stages as he chased his first podium in Renault colours, but the safety car put an end to that dream.
“I got a little bit frustrated by (Pierre) Gasly and (Sergio) Perez’s strategy (staying out on the safety car), it put a buffer between Max and myself on the restart so without that, I genuinely think we could have stayed with him on the hards (tyres),” Ricciardo said.
“Whether we could have passed I don’t know but we could have had a much better chance.
“I was trying to overtake and if he passed me later then so be it but it wasn’t worth putting myself out in the first few corners. I was there and I was trying but keeping that one per cent of maturity and discipline in me.”
Fourth place in Belgium moves Ricciardo into eighth in the drivers’ championship with 33 points to his name, equal with Perez and seven clear of Renault team-mate Esteban Ocon who finished fifth.
Formula 1 now heads to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix next weekend.
RICCIARDO HAS BEEN RAPID ALL WEEKEND AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS RICCIARDO HAS BEEN RAPID ALL WEEKEND AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
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