Daniel Ricciardo was relieved to see the flag as the AlphaTauri tyres fell off drastically at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix sprint race.
The Australian was racing for a point for large parts of the sprint, but finished 10th as the pace of the AlphaTauri car fell away behind Esteban Ocon and George Russell.
Despite being pleased overall, the seven-time race winner was disappointed not to be able to hang on to collect his first points finish since the Abu Dhabi GP in 2022.
“I knew I was ninth and then I saw [Sergio] Perez go off,” Ricciardo said to the media. “So I was like, ‘Alright, I’m eighth, that’s a point,’ and at that moment I could still see the Ferrari insight, I think it was [Charles] Leclerc.
“And Lando [Norris], he was always pulling away in the sector but I was hanging on and keeping him in sight, so there were a couple of laps where the pace was pretty good.
“But then I would say probably like three from the end it just started getting a lot slower, probably because of the tyres.
“So we need to understand why ours [AlphaTauri] felt like we dropped off a lot more than Russell, who overtook me, and Ocon at the end.
“It wasn’t just slow, it was getting pretty sketchy. It would have been nice to stay in the points but I’m kind of glad to see the chequered flag because I’m not sure how much longer I was going to stay on the track.”
Calls for FIA to look at visibility issues
The length of the sprint race was reduced following several laps behind the safety car in a bid to clear the track of standing water, thus improving the visibility of the cars behind the leader.
After four tours of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the sprint could get underway with 11 laps behind the allocated total as the cars would no longer be fuelled for the full 15.
Ricciardo, who raced the old-gen cars, was taken aback by the lack of visibility and called for the FIA to take action to improve the racing but was understanding of the decision to try to clear the track.
“At the beginning I thought ‘Good.'”, Ricciardo said to the media. “We needed at least two to see the track. I was in fourth gear down the straight and not even at full throttle but I couldn’t see George‘s [Russell] rain light in front of me.
“In the end, I’m glad we got the race started and I think everyone was safe but visibility is a shame.
“I’ve been doing this sport for a while now and I don’t remember it like this. The last few years have been bad but even five to ten years ago we raced in these conditions.
“We want to race because the wet is fun, and I think the onboard captures it well but we really can’t see in anything above fourth gear.”