Daniel Ricciardo admitted that he knew how composed he stayed during the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix would be the difference between first and second place at Spa on Sunday.
The Australian started on fifth place on the grid, but after strong opening lap, coupled by an incident at the front which saw Lewis Hamilton pit with a puncture and Nico Rosberg momentarily falling off the pace with a broken front nose, Ricciardo found himself in the lead.
During the closing stages of a thrilling race at Spa Francorchamps, Rosberg pitted late from second place, but on new tyres, nearly closed the gap to Ricciardo.
To his credit, Ricciardo continued to set competitive lap times and kept his cool under pressure from the Drivers’ Championship leader to win his second consecutive race and his third of the season.
“It is a bit different when you lead the race for that long, it’s more about composure and trying to keep steady. Once Nico went in I knew he would be quick at the end so I had to keep my pace up to stay ahead of him,” an elated Ricciardo told the BBC after the race.
“When you are leading the first thing is you hope everything holds together, mechanically you hope everything gets you to the finish line but certainly when you are in the lead the chequered flag can’t come soon enough.”
The Aussie was also surprised by the extent of the support he had at Spa this week.
“I think back home there is a huge following for F1 but this is almost as many Aussie flags as there was in Melbourne so thanks so much,” the Red Bull driver said of his support in Belgium.”