Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to taking to the track at Spa-Francorchamps, in what will be his 200th Grand Prix.
The Aussie has been on quite the Formula 1 journey since debuting at Silverstone in 2011 with HRT, and now in a McLaren, he will reach the 200 mark for Formula 1 races at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.
It is a track Ricciardo knows well, having won here in 2014 for Red Bull, and now he will look to create another race weekend to remember at Spa.
“After a few weeks away from Formula 1, I’m looking forward to going racing again at Spa, which is an awesome circuit,” he said in McLaren’s Belgian GP preview.
“It’s the perfect track to come back to with its high-speed sections and dramatic elevation changes.
“I’ve been back to work in the simulator at the factory this week in preparation for the weekend and I’m ready to get back at it.”
“This is also a special weekend for me as I prepare to line-up for my 200th Grand Prix. If you’d have told me back at Silverstone in 2011, when I made my debut, that I’d hit 200 Grands Prix, I’d certainly have been very excited about it.
“It’s really a cool milestone to hit and definitely one that I’m proud of. I’ll be doing everything I can to make it a weekend to remember.”
Ricciardo’s team-mate Lando Norris saw his 100% record of points finishes in 2021 snapped at the last round in Hungary, after being hit by Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap.
But now his full focus switches to Spa, a track which like his team-mate, he really enjoys tackling.
“I can’t wait to head back to Spa to get the season back underway,” he said.
“After a bit of a break to unwind and prepare for the second half of the year, I’m looking forward to getting back into the car.
“The Belgian GP is a special race. Firstly, it’s one of my favourite circuits on the calendar with a really flowing and high-speed layout. The Radillon and Eau Rouge sequence is one of the most exciting on the entire calendar, and it’s really cool to take these corners flat out in a modern F1 car.
“Secondly, it’s home for a lot of my family, which always makes racing there a special occasion. I definitely feel the love from the fans out there too, so I’m looking forward to getting out on track and giving them a good show.
“We’ve had a great start to the season in the first half of the year, so now the focus is on picking that back up and carrying that through until the end of the season.”
McLaren are locked in a fierce battle with Ferrari over P3 in the Constructors’, with both teams heading into the Belgian Grand Prix tied on 163 points.
And so team principal Andreas Seidl spoke of the need to hit the ground running, as Belgium marks the start of this next triple-header.
“Following a rest period over the summer shutdown for the team to rest, recharge and get ready for the second half of the season, we’re soon ready to go racing again,” he said.
“We’re currently in an intense battle with our closest rivals in the Constructors’ Championship and we know we’ll need to hit the ground running in Spa to keep up the pressure.
“The circuit at Spa is a really unique and exciting track and presents an interesting challenge for both our engineers and drivers.
“This grand prix weekend is also a special moment for Daniel and the team, as we celebrate his 200th Grand Prix. To reach this milestone is a really significant achievement and proves the level of experience he’s gained over his 10-year career. He joins an elite club of drivers in passing 200 Grands Prix, and we look forward to celebrating the weekend with him.
“As we head into another triple-header, the team are going to be working hard to pick up where we left off at the end of the first half of the season, scoring points at all bar one race.
“The intense schedule is a challenge for the team, but one we’re ready to tackle head-on, both within the trackside team, and the team back at the factory, as well as with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. I know the entire team are excited to get back out there and give it their all.”