Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he gave strong thoughts over not racing in the Belgian Grand Prix just 24 hours on from the tragic death of Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert in an accident during Saturday’s feature race.

The Australian had grown a strong bond with Renault junior driver Hubert who succumbed to his injuries sustained in the multiple-car collision on Lap 2 of the F2 feature race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Juan Manuel Correa was also involved in the accident and suffered two fractured legs and a back injury with his condition stable in hospital following surgery.

Having been visibly upset during the one minute’s silence before the Formula 1 race, Ricciardo admitted he didn’t want to race but having slept on his decision and seeing Hubert’s family on Sunday morning he changed his mind and wanted to pay tribute to the French driver.

“I’m glad that the race is over. I know that weirdly enough the best way we can show our respect is to race today. But I don’t think that any of us actually wanted to be here or race. At least I am speaking for myself. But I’m sure I’m not the only one,” Ricciardo said.

“It was certainly tough to be here and try and put on a brave face for everyone. A lot of people in the paddock are hurting after yesterday. Everyone is relieved that it is done. We move on from here and hopefully it is the last time that this stuff happens.

“You question is it really worth it? At the end of the day it is a simple question but a pretty honest one as well.

“It is our job and profession and our life, but also it is still just racing cars around in circles. So it gets to a point where you actually question it when you are reminded of these things – is it worth it? I certainly questioned it last night but having slept and then seeing some of his family here today, that is what gave me more strength than anything else.

“How they could be here after that, taking my hat off to them doesn’t do it justice. I could not imagine being in their position, and I felt that they were a lot stronger than any of us today.”

Ricciardo says he couldn’t silence his own thoughts about Hubert during the Belgian Grand Prix given how raw his emotions were following his passing but felt he was in a strong enough mindset to race.

“Once we get going and racing, and once you get that adrenalin of the competition, then you kind of put it towards the back [of your mind], but to completely remove it today was impossible,” he said.

“It was still there, but in the heat of the competition strangely enough you are able to kind of pay more attention to the competition than what happened yesterday.

“If you drive with fear then it’s best not to race. On the warm-up laps that everyone does half an hour before, if I felt fear then, then I would not want to race. But it was just a sadness.”

After sustaining damage on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix in a clash with Lance Stroll, focing him to pit, the Australian driver completed the rest of the race on a single set of medium tyres which meant his pace dropped badly in the closing stages leaving him to finish down in 14th place.

 

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