Daniel Ricciardo was encouraged to have been embroiled in a fight with the Force India of Sergio Perez during the Brazilian Grand Prix, even if it meant passing the Mexican driver twice on track.
The Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver started nineteenth at Interlagos after taking a grid penalty for using the upgraded Renault power unit, but despite making an aggressively timed early pit stop, he found himself compromised by the life of his Pirelli tyres and was forced to settle for finishing outside the top ten.
“In the first few laps we made up some positions and did what we could and then we went for an aggressive first stop,” said Ricciardo. “When we put the primes on, we didn’t really have the tyre life we thought we would so we still had to do a three-stop race, running at a pretty similar pace to the cars around us.
“Parts of the race were a little bit boring, although I had a nice battle with Sergio for a few laps, which was encouraging. I had to get around him twice and that kept me excited for a while.
“Clearly my grid penalty didn’t help today, but Abu Dhabi’s next and that has always been a good circuit for us. I enjoy it a lot so for the last race of the season we’ll hopefully finish strong and in the points.”
It was revealed post-race that Renault only used a partial upgrade on its engine that gave Ricciardo his penalty, with the upgrade used in Brazil only using seven of the eleven tokens the engine manufacturer used.
The upgrade in Brazil was focused on internal combustion engine (ICE), while the four additional tokens were focused on the turbocharger, but due to part availability and the compatibility with the exhaust system, Renault were unable to introduce this element.