Daniel Ricciardo managed his first top ten start for the Renault F1 Team, and of the 2019 Formula 1 season, at the Chinese Grand Prix – edging ahead of team-mate Nico Hülkenberg.
Ricciardo called his and Hülkenberg’s respective seventh and eighth places a “solid result” for Renault, as the French marque rediscovered its qualifying pace that had deserted it in Australia and China.
The Australian’s best time of a 1:32.958 was a mere 0.004 seconds ahead of Hülkenberg’s effort, with both Renaults benefitting from the timing issue that prevented Haas F1 Team duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen from setting a quick time in Qualifying 3.
Ricciardo expressed his happiness for the Renault team at the result after a difficult end to the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks’ ago.
“I’m really happy for the team with today’s result,” said Ricciardo.
“It’s really good to have both cars in Q3; that’s a solid result.
“This midfield battle is so tight and your weekend can change within one or two tenths of a second, so it’s pleasing to be at the head of that midfield battle.”
However, the Australian was not overly happy with his final run in qualifying, believing that he lost time in a scrappy final sector of the Shanghai International Circuit.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s race, Ricciardo said that either one of the Renault cars have the chance to split the Red Bull Racing cars that start directly ahead of them.
The former Red Bull driver ended up just 0.028 seconds off of his successor Pierre Gasly.
“My Qualifying 3 lap was actually a little bit messy in the final sector, so I was happy to hear we had finished seventh,” Ricciardo added.
“Tomorrow, we’ll realistically like to hold onto the top seven and see if we can go after sixth.”