Daniel Ricciardo believes Renault’s chances of scoring a podium are increasing despite failing to capitalize on tracks that looked like they suited his team’s car.
Renault has been strong in recent years in both Spa and Monza, and after Ricciardo finished a close fourth in Belgium there was increased expectation that he could fight for the podium a week later. However, in the Italian Grand Prix Renault was slightly less competitive, limiting Ricciardo to sixth, but he ended the tripleheader with another fourth place at Mugello, just losing out to Alex Albon (pictured above dueling with Ricciardo) in the closing stages.
“We might be a little bit sad that we got so close to a podium, but when we step back and look at the performance, it was a track that we did not really expect to be particularly competitive on,” Ricciardo said. “It is a higher-downforce one, it is one that we have not been particularly strong on — Barcelona and those style circuits are not our strengths. So, good progress on the style of circuit. That gives us a bit of encouragement coming to other high-downforce circuits.
“It looks like we are getting the car in a better place. It is still so close in that pack, but on Sundays our race pace is solid. So if we qualify towards the front it puts us in a good place on Sunday.”
Although Ricciardo came close to landing his first Renault podium at Mugello — only dropping to fourth with eight laps remaining — the Australian sees the positives in how frustrating the near misses are.
“I am somewhere in the middle — I am bouncing from happy and fulfilled to a little bit sad. The truth is, it is a bit like Monza. We put ourselves in the best position, we did all we could. At the very end we did not have that last bit to hold onto a podium. We were there.
“Without the red flag from (Lance) Stroll, I feel like we had good control on the medium (tires), so maybe that was a better chance for us to hold onto third. But we are getting close, and to see happiness in the team and also some disappointment with a fourth place, that is a good place to be. Everyone is hungry.”