Motorsport Australia ambassador Daniel Ricciardo has secured one of his best results in recent times, with another haul of good points in the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Championship season claiming fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix.
In a race dominated by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and runner-up Valtteri Bottas, Ricciardo held his own throughout all 44 laps and fought off early challenges, finishing the race where he started.
Making the day even sweeter for Ricciardo was the extra bonus point he received for posting the fastest lap of the race – the first time he achieved that feat since moving to Renault.
With teammate Esteban Ocon finishing in fifth place, it was the French outfit’s best outing in years as Ricciardo moved up to eighth place on the overall standings.
“What a race and definitely an excellent result for the team. We had a lot of pace today and fourth is a strong result,” 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.
“This was a good track for us last year and Monza was even better. We’ll see what happens, but we can go there with a lot of confidence.”
As for the winner, it was a masterclass performance from Hamilton as he picked his fourth victory in Belgium despite having some tyre issues towards the end.
“It wasn’t the easiest of races,” Hamilton said.
“I had a lock-up into Turn 5 which started to give a bit of a vibration and then one into the last corner. The tyre temperatures were slowly dropping and I was a bit nervous we might have a scenario like Silverstone at the end so I was nursing it.
“[At the start], out of Turn 1 I had a big snap trying to get on the gas to get the gap. I’m not sure if Bottas had to lift or what but he didn’t have enough time to slingshot. No shake and bake today, so I’m grateful for that.”
It’s back-to-back weekends for Ricciardo and the Formula 1 Championship as they head to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix on 6 September.