Daniel Ricciardo believes fourth-place at the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix was the maximum result possible despite closing in on Max Verstappen in the closing laps.

Renault equalled its best result as a constructor since returning to the sport in 2016 with Ricciardo finishing fourth ahead of Ocon in fifth - a feat it achieved at last season's Italian GP with Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.

Ricciardo was the fastest man on track in the closing stages of the race, setting the fastest lap overall on the final lap as he finished just over three seconds behind Verstappen in third.

 

 

When asked if Ricciardo felt he could have pushed earlier in the race to catch Verstappen, the Australian admitted “he wasn’t really leaving anything on the table” in the closing laps.

“I honestly felt like the ‘pin was out’ as soon as I passed Gasly really, the pin was out,” Ricciardo said. “It just came to me. I think fighting with Perez and Gasly, the tyres overheat so it takes a few laps for them to come back and once it did, it crept up and crept up.

“I wasn’t really leaving anything on the table and then the last lap I put everything into it but that wasn’t sustainable to hit those laps for much longer. I feel like I used everything.”

Ricciardo was side-by-side with Verstappen on the opening lap but he says he didn’t want to risk crashing out in a bid to remain ahead of his former Red Bull team-mate.

“Don’t get me wrong I was trying to overtake but it was always an element of will they be a bit quicker,” Ricciardo added. “Yes. I was trying to overtake and if he would have passed me later so be it but it wasn’t worth putting myself out in the first few corners, that is what I am trying to say. I was there, I was obviously trying but keeping that 1% of maturity and discipline in me.”

Ocon overtook Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in the closing laps for fifth place.

Given Renault’s impressive pace on the straights at Spa, the Frenchman is confident of performing well next time out at Monza.

“The car’s been quick,” Ocon said. “We’re turning a very difficult weekend like Barcelona to a very, very positive one here. Massive improvement. Very happy and pleased with that. It smells good as well because next week, I think the track will have the same characteristic, even more extreme so we should be at ease as well. We’re going to try and do the same, or even better.”

 

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