Daniel Ricciardo: “My objective was to start on the softs”

Daniel Ricciardo - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Daniel Ricciardo was not unhappy with qualifying fifth for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday, and feels there is a lot of potential for a good result during Sunday’s race.

The Red Bull Racing driver will start the race on the Soft Pirelli tyre, which had been the plan from the start, but the Aussie admitted he was nervous as he sat in the garage towards the end of Q2 with drivers aiming to knock him out on the Supersoft tyre.

“In Q3 I would have loved to have got a bit more out of it, but I’m not too disappointed looking at the race tomorrow,” reflected Ricciardo. “I’m really pleased I got through on the softs in Q2, that was our objective, whether it works tomorrow or not let’s see, but that’s what I wanted to get out of it.

“I’d be less happy with P5 on some tracks, but I’m not disappointed for two reasons: you can overtake here and with the tyres we’ve got this weekend, you can do a lot during the race tomorrow.

“If you can have a faster car or if you can be a bit more intelligent, then it can pay off. In Q2 my objective was to start on the softs. It was a nervous few minutes but we did it. I’m happy; it’s close enough to the front and I’m on the softs, sure a few cars in front have them too, but it’s going to be a good race.”

With Max Verstappen second and starting on the Supersoft tyre, Red Bull are running a split strategy with its drivers, but Ricciardo hopes his strategy call will be the one that works around a Spa-Francorchamps circuit where it is possible to pass.

“Two years ago I started in P5 and won!” said Ricciardo. “Max did really well to get on the front row – but we have a split strategy for tomorrow, we talked about it before qualifying and he wanted to start the race on supersofts and I wanted to start on softs, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”