Ricciardo wary of ruining race with Max duel

Jamie Woodhouse


Daniel Ricciardo said he wasn’t prepared to collide with former team-mate Max Verstappen and ruin his race on Lap 1 of the Belgian GP.

Ricciardo delivered a stellar qualifying performance to put his Renault P4 on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix.

And for the first half of the opening lap he enjoyed a back-and-forth battle with former Red Bull team-mate Verstappen over P3.

The Dutchman would maintain the spot though and from there went on to run in a lonely P3 before crossing the line in that position with the top three staying the same for all 44 laps of the race.

Ricciardo though went about his own race and secured a solid P4 finish, though he was rapidly closing in on Verstappen in the final few laps as the top three nursed their tyres to the end.

Ultimately though a first Renault podium still eludes Ricciardo, as does Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul’s tattoo should Ricciardo visit the podium before his contract expires at the end of the season.

“I feel our podium this year, if it happens, will be overshadowed by the tattoo!,” he told Sky F1.

But P4 may not have been possible if the Aussie had have risked it all against Verstappen at the start, though that is something he wasn’t prepared to do.

“It wasn’t worth putting myself out in the first few corners trying to overtake.

“The last lap I put everything into it, I feel like I used everything.

“I really think that fourth place was the maximum, I knew that when I caught up with Pierre Gasly.”

Speaking to Ziggo Sport, he added: “If I would have been ahead [of Verstappen] at the start we probably wouldn’t have lasted long. I did take some risk, but there is no point in ruining your race there. It was a great duel.”

Ricciardo also scored an extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race, making him the first Renault driver to do so since Robert Kubica.

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Ricciardo’s team-mate Esteban Ocon recorded his best finishing position of the season with P5, and is now looking forward to Monza next weekend which should play to Renault’s strengths again.

Before that though, he was keen to pay tribute to his compatriot and former Renault Academy driver Anthoine Hubert one year on from his fatal F2 crash at Spa.

“It’s been a strong weekend,” he told Sky F1.

“A massive improvement and we’re very happy. We have a track with the same characteristics next week so we’ll try to do the same or even better.

“We’re excited to go to Monza. There have been a lot of thoughts on how to manage the tyres – it seems to be working at the moment.

“Coming here has been tough, I always think about Antoine [Hubert]. He would be pleased to see Renault up there today.”

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