F1 return sparks another challenge for Ricciardo
Monday 29 August, 2022
Photo: McLaren Media
A trying finish of 15th place at the fan-favourite Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps capped off a disappointing weekend for Daniel Ricciardo in the Belgium Grand Prix.
In what was the FIA Formula 1 World Championship's return after the summer break, the stage was set for an exciting race due to multiple engine component upgrade penalties across the grid, but Ricciardo was forced to qualify with a less preferred setup and was eliminated in Q2.
As a result of the penalties, Riccardo moved up into seventh position for the race start, 10 places ahead of McLaren teammate Lando Norris.
Upon lights out, a slow start from Williams' Alexander Albon allowed the West Australian to immediately gain a position off the line.
Following an early safety car intervention on lap four, Ricciardo then dropped back to seventh position after the blistering straight-line speed of the Williams left him vulnerable on the straights.
The 33-year-old then held position behind the Williams through the first round of pit-stops, which saw McLaren opt for the hard compound tyre on lap 12 of 44. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there though as the lack of straight-line speed hindered the Australian's chances of gaining any more places.
Another pit-stop on lap 32 saw him fall even further down to 15th position where the remained for the rest of the race.
Meanwhile, reigning world champion Max Verstappen soared his way through the grid after starting 14th due to penalties, overtaking Carlos Sainz on lap 18 to take the lead of the race.
The Dutchman was able to dominate the remaining laps in a superior car to eventually claim his 29th career victory, while teammate Sergio Perez made it a Red Bull Racing one-two.
Having started on pole, Sainz ended up rounding out the podium more than 25 seconds behind the championship leader, which saw him move above Mercedes' George Russell on the standings by a single point.
Verstappen’s victory made him the first driver since 1960 to win consecutive races from outside the top 10, extending his lead in the championship to 93 points.
It's back-to-back rounds for Formula 1 with the Dutch Grand Prix to take place at CM.com Circuit Zandvoort on Sunday 4 September.