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GP Week : Issue 208
Another win – this time showing long-term race composure – has intensified the downer that defending champion sebastian Vettel must be enduring. Vettel was in front of his team -mate when he slipped his car over the outside kerb onto the Astroturf and that mistake was all that was needed – Ricciardo was through and, again looking after his car and tyres through the crucial mid-race period, went on to an impressive third win in six races. In the end, Sebastian didn’t really refer to those opening laps in his post-race comments preferring to allude to the late-race four- car scrap for fifth – which he eventually managed: " Towards the end of the race was good, I was in a rush to get through because the laps were going down and obviously Alonso and Magnussen didn't have fresh tyres, so Jenson and me caught them fairly quickly. In the end it was good not to lose a position compared to when we decided to pit, which was probably a little bit late, but in the end we maintained the position. “T he battle was fairly interesting, it was a bit all over the place with people pushing each other off on the track, but we race hard, although sometimes maybe a bit too hard! The team did a great job in the pit stops, three perfect stops, they felt really quick." But the focus, deservedly, was on Daniel Riccardo, who understood just how different this win had been: " Everyone was saying we didn't really have a chance around here, but I think we had some really good pace today and surprised ourselves. It feels a bit surreal, but another win is very cool, very cool. “It was difficult staying out at the end of the race. When you're the leader as well you always feel like you're the most vulnerable when it comes to a pit stop or not, but Simon my engineer came on the radio and said I think it's 11 laps left, can these tyres get to the end? And I said I think I can keep more or less this pace, and we were able to, and then on the last lap I found a couple more tenths, so I was having a bit of fun then! “T here's been a lot of good things about the win today, obviously the last two came from a more aggressive style of race, but today was more calculated and it was nice to win under different circumstances." And team boss Horner? Plaudits for Ricciardo; reasons for Vettel: "A phenomenal performance today to get our 50th win. Of all the tracks to win at, Spa was one of the ones that we didn't expect to! Daniel drove an incredible race and had good pace throughout; it got very close at the end there with Nico, but he just managed to hold on and have enough in hand to get to the chequered flag first. “Sebastian, after a great start, was racing with Bottas – we didn't want to get undercut so we pitted quite aggressively with him to make sure we stayed ahead of him but thereafter we seemed to struggle with pace, so whether there's some damage with the car or not we really need to look into, but it wasn't Sebastian's fault today." Surprise! Again ... 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BELGIUM PARTNERS: