Daniel Ricciardo says he’ll be doing “everything he can to make it a weekend to remember” as he celebrates his 200th Formula 1 race this weekend in Belgium.
The McLaren driver heads into the first race back after the summer break in a tough position, having struggled to match team-mate Lando Norris’ performances this season, albeit scoring his best result with his new team just a few weeks ago at the British Grand Prix where he finished fifth.
That turned once again to disappointment in Hungary as both McLaren drivers left without points following a first corner pile-up, forcing Norris to retire with damage and Ricciardo, who dropped down the order, to mount a recovery drive to 11th.
The Australian is feeling refreshed and ready to return to action this weekend as F1 resumes at Spa-Francorchamps and Ricciardo wants to make it a memorable one as he hits a major milestone.
“After a few weeks away from Formula 1, I’m looking forward to going racing again at Spa, which is an awesome circuit,” said Ricciardo. “It’s the perfect track to come back to with its high-speed sections and dramatic elevation changes.
“I’ve been back to work in the simulator at the factory this week in preparation for the weekend and I’m ready to get back at it.
“This is also a special weekend for me as I prepare to line-up for my 200th Grand Prix. If you’d have told me back at Silverstone in 2011, when I made my debut, that I’d hit 200 Grands Prix, I’d certainly have been very excited about it.
“It’s really a cool milestone to hit and definitely one that I’m proud of. I’ll be doing everything I can to make it a weekend to remember.”
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl knows it’s an important weekend for the team for several reasons, not only Ricciardo’s anniversary, but also McLaren intense championship fight with Ferrari, who are currently level on points after a strong result in Budapest.
“This grand prix weekend is a special moment for Daniel and the team, as we celebrate his 200th Grand Prix. To reach this milestone is a really significant achievement and proves the level of experience he’s gained over his 10-year career. He joins an elite club of drivers in passing 200 Grands Prix, and we look forward to celebrating the weekend with him,” said Seidl.
“We’re currently in an intense battle with our closest rivals in the Constructors’ Championship and we know we’ll need to hit the ground running in Spa to keep up the pressure. The circuit at Spa is a really unique and exciting track and presents an interesting challenge for both our engineers and drivers.
“As we head into another triple-header, the team are going to be working hard to pick up where we left off at the end of the first half of the season, scoring points at all bar one race. The intense schedule is a challenge for the team, but one we’re ready to tackle head-on, both within the trackside team, and the team back at the factory, as well as with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. I know the entire team are excited to get back out there and give it their all.”