Daniel Ricciardo believes it’s good that Renault has the pressure of a constructors’ championship fight with Toro Rosso heading into the last race of the season.
Renault saw any outside chance of beating McLaren to fourth place in the constructors’ standings ended with Carlos Sainz finishing third in Brazil and Lando Norris also picking up points in eighth place. However, Pierre Gasly’s surprise second place coupled with a further point for Daniil Kvyat leaves Toro Rosso just eight points behind Renault in the battle for fifth ahead of next weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi.
“Game on!” Ricciardo said. “I’d love it to be us rather than them, but I like it, it keeps pressure on us for that last race. It won’t allow us to rest, and it gives us something to fight for in Abu Dhabi. It is a track that I really enjoy. I’ve always gone well there. so ready to go.”
Despite enjoying the battle with Toro Rosso, Ricciardo admits he could have helped Renault open up more of an advantage in Brazil but for a collision with Kevin Magnussen that earned him a penalty.
“Ultimately, I hit him and he spun. So I knew that always when the car on the inside hits the guy on the outside and he spins, you can expect a penalty — whether it was tight or not. I definitely tried to avoid it. I got on to the inside curb to create as much space as possible. Coming off the curb I skipped into him.
“As soon as I hit him, I was like ‘please don’t spin,’ and he spun and I was like ‘F**k. I didn’t want that.’ Not nice for him, it does not make me look the best, and I knew the risk of a penalty, front nose damage. That part of the race was tricky.
“Ultimately the medium (tire) was tricky at start. We didn’t expect to struggle that much with it. So it was already a difficult race in the opening laps. But from that point on we made a very good race. If we eliminate the first 10 laps, the rest of our race was close to perfect.
“Without the penalty and the front wing, sure we could have been further up. I don’t how much further because with the medium we didn’t have a good balance at the beginning. We did not have the pace that we showed later in the race. But sure we could have got a few more points.
“But the penultimate restart I made three positions on that opening lap — that is what I am really happy with. What I lost in the beginning I got back then. So I am somewhere in the middle. Sure, part of me is a little bit sad and empty, but part is also fulfilled with a good recovery.”