Ricciardo delighted to capitalise on Spa opportunities

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, Belgian Grand Prix
© XPB 

After qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix in sixth place on the grid, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo knew it would take some lucky breaks if he was going to finish on the podium on Sunday.

As it turned out, the breaks did indeed come. And Ricciardo was ready and waiting to take advantage when they did.

The retirement of his team mate Max Verstappen after just seven laps gifted him one spot. And shortly afterwards Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was handed a stop-go penalty, handing the Australian another position.

"Max dropped out early," he said. "Then Kimi had a penalty so we got into fourth. We had pretty good pace mid-race and then we got the safety car."

The safety car was due to an incident between the Force India cars. It allowed the leaders to pit for fresh tyres, and closed up the field in time for the restart.

Ricciardo was fully aware he had just one chance to press the attack on Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas for third place.

"I knew we'd been given a bit of an opportunity and it was good to capitalise on that with Valtteri at the restart," he explained. "He was on the softs, I was on the ultras.

"I knew if we were going to have a podium then it's happening at the restart," he noted. "Once his tyres were up to temperature it would have been harder to do something.

"The race had been a little bit static and it gave me the opportunity to have a a crack, so have a crack I did. And got up to a podium!"

Ricciardo likened his do-or-die move down the Kemmel Straight to a 'Hail Mary' pass on US football. That's the situation when a team is forced to risk everything on one final big gamble in order to win.

"That was a Hail Daniel - I wouldn't call it a Hail Mary, just a Hail Daniel!" he quipped afterwards. "It worked well.

"Super-pleased with that. Again, we just get ourselves in a position - whether we put ourselves there or get a bit fortunate - but when we do, we capitalise and it's all we can do. happy with that."

After that, Ricciardo was able to hold off a resurgent Raikkonen for the remaining ten laps of the race. However, there was no chance of closing the gap to race leaders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

"I had good pace over Kimi and maybe even Valtteri. But Seb and Lewis were on another level," he admitted.

Overall, Ricciardo felt that Red Bull would need more luck if they were to finish in the top three next week in Monza. But he was more optimistic looking forward to some of the other races left on the calendar.

"In some races we look closer, some not, so it's hard to say," he said. Monza will be difficult to do better than this.

"But come Singapore I think we can definitely be competitive with Mercedes around a track like that. Ferrari might be a stretch, but we'll do what we can.

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