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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo 'can't think' about Spa tragedy as rain threatens

Similar conditions were involved when 18-year-old Dilano van t' Hoff was killed in a FRECA crash earlier this month.

Ricciardo Hungary
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo has insisted he "cannot think about" the recent tragedy at Spa-Francorchamps when continuing his F1 comeback.

The Australian made his return at last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, out-performing teammate Yuki Tsunoda at the first time of asking when finishing 13th.

F1 returns to Belgium just four weeks on from the death of 18-year-old Dilano van 't Hoff, who was involved in a multi-car collision on the Kemmel Straight in treacherous conditions during a FRECA race.

Similar conditions are forecast for this weekend's event and with emotions running high given the danger associated with the first sector and the similarities between van t' Hoff and Anthoine Hubert's 2019 F2 incident, concerns are on the paddock's minds.

"As a race car driver, we are aware of this [danger] from a young age," Ricciardo told media including RacingNews365.

"We always know that the sport is still dangerous. It has gotten a lot safer over the years but there is still some danger.

"It is something we are aware of but we have learned to live with over the years. It's there somewhere and when accidents do happen, it is a reminder because over time, the feeling of risk you feel becomes smaller.

"It is not something you necessarily think of coming into the weekend. We are aware of what happened recently and a few years ago.

"The truth is, as a driver, you cannot think about it. You are aware of it but you don't get into the car thinking about it.

"It is one of those sports where you can't be one foot in, one foot out. In some ways, driving a car closer to the limit is easier or safer or more how the car is meant to be driven than being a bit cautious.

"I don't think it changes. The reality is, these cars are tricky in the wet. With temperatures and getting the tyres turned on, it is tricky for us but once we are there, it is more tricky than the dry but we will manage."

New challenges

Ricciardo finished where he started in Hungary having escaped significant damage from a first-corner collision instigated by Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu, with Red Bull Motorsport Advisor labelling the drive as a "perfect" return.

Asked if anything would change in his approach for the upcoming Sprint weekend at Spa, Ricciardo replied: "I think I approach this weekend the same.

"A week ago I hadn't even driven the car, so just approach it in the same place with a bit more knowledge now.

"It will be different, it looks wet, so new challenges and all of that.

"Other than the Turn 1 stuff, it was probably as smooth a first weekend could have gone all things considered.

"I was happy, it gives us a bit of confidence but I would say the approach hasn't changed."

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F1 2023 Belgian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Qualifying