Daniel Ricciardo has warned Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul he should be nervous about having to honor a bet over his chances of scoring a podium in the Italian Grand Prix; an outcome that would lead the Frenchman to get a tattoo.
Abiteboul and Ricciardo have an ongoing wager that will result in the Renault team boss getting a tattoo of Ricciardo’s choice when the Australian picks up his first podium for the team. After Ricciardo finished fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix – just over three seconds behind Max Verstappen – he says he feels good about his chances of achieving a top three result in Monza.
“I told him to stay alert over the next seven days, because at least last year, Monza was an even stronger circuit for us,” Ricciardo said. “If we are stronger, there is only a podium in front of us. I am not getting ahead of myself, or the team isn’t, but I think we can go to Monza with confidence, and aim high.
“And even (on Sunday) if the strategy of (Pierre) Gasly and (Sergio) Perez did not put a buffer between Max and myself, I really think I could’ve run with Max for that last stint. He pulled away because we lost time with the different strategy, but we reeled in a big gap towards the end. So Monza, all going well, we should be competitive.”
Ricciardo picked up an extra point on Sunday when he set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, and he said he was not expecting Mercedes and Red Bull to struggle with tire degradation so much more than he did.
“Yeah, it was certainly surprising,” he said. “I knew we would have a decent car, but even when I heard the lap times, and that the Mercedes were dropping off too, I was like ‘OK maybe everyone is just saving their engines. But it sounded like they were genuinely struggling a little bit, and we were getting faster and faster and faster.
“We had to deal with some traffic. They all had their gaps and didn’t really have a hard time on their tires. So it was really encouraging. The pace at the end took me by surprise. I was getting quicker and quicker and then my engineer told me what the fastest lap was, it was half a second quicker than what I had done, and I was like maybe if we can use a bit of the battery we can get it.
“About halfway around the last lap I used every bit of track I could. I’m going for it. I’ve gone this far now; I’m just going to put it all on the line. That lap probably scared me more than a Q3 lap!”