Ricciardo struggled to race after Hubert tragedy

© XPB 

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo says he struggled to "put on a brave face" and race in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix following the death of F2 racer Anthoine Hubert on Saturday.

In a paddock overwhelmed with sadness and emotion on Sunday morning, Ricciardo appeared particularly unsettled by the previous day's tragic events and Hubert's passing.

The Aussie launched his race from a lowly P17 and ran as high as 7th but eventually concluded his day in 14th position. For Ricciardo, the checkered flag hadn't come a moment too soon.

"I'm glad today is over," he said on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm glad the race is over. I know, weirdly enough, the best way we can kind of show our respect was to race today, but I don't think any of us actually wanted to be here, or wanted to race - at least, I'm speaking for myself, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.

"It was tough, it was certainly tough to be here and try and put on a brave face for everyone. I know a lot of people in the paddock are hurting after yesterday.

"I think everyone's relieved it's done and we can move on from here and hopefully it's the last time this stuff happens."

Given his morose mindset, Ricciardo was asked if the thought of packing it all in and heading home had crossed his mind before the race.

"Yeah, last night, absolutely. You question, 'is it really worth it?', for sure. Because at the end of the day, it's a simple question but it's a pretty honest one as well.

"Yeah, it's our job and it's our profession and it's our life, but also it's still just racing cars around in circles."

In the end however, the 30-year-old pulled himself up, helped in large part by witnessing the fortitude and courage of Anthoine Hubert's mother and brother during the pre-race tributes to the perished F2 driver.

"To be honest, seeing some of his family here today that’s what gave me more strength than anything else," he said.

"How they could be here after [it], taking my hat off to them doesn’t do it justice.

"I don’t know what to say. I could not imagine being in that position. I felt like they were a lot stronger than any of us today."

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