Daniel Ricciardo put together a strong showing for Renault DP World F1 Team on Friday, finishing eighth in Free Practice 1 and ending the day with a strong fifth place in Free Practice 2.
Teammate Esteban Ocon fell a bit behind in his first race for Renault, and his first race back in Formula 1 since his time with Racing Point Formula 1 Team in 2018. The Frenchman finished in 13th place in FP1 and 11th in FP2.
Ocon’s run in FP1 was cut 15 minutes short, as he sustained slight damage to the bodywork of his Renault, losing a barge board as he raced down the front straight.
Despite being nearly half a second behind Ricciardo, Ocon felt good about the pace of the car, and knows what he needs to do in Qualifying on Saturday.
“It definitely felt good to be back and I’m very happy to have a decent day’s running,” Ocon said in a press release.
“There are little things to improve here and there but that’s normal after a long time away from driving. It’s getting there, the pace is promising and looking at the team today we are in a good place.
“Our short runs were fairly quick, and the pace is there. I just need to pull it together when it counts tomorrow.”
Ricciardo shared his thoughts on the car, saying that the long run pace needed work, but the car felt good during the low fuel simulations.
“The car felt good straight away and we carried some good momentum through the day,” he said.
“Our long run pace gives us something to work on, while the low fuel pace looked decent, so I’m pretty happy with that.
“Taking the timing board out of it, the car feels like it’s progressed, so it’s positive feelings and I’m looking forward to qualifying.”
Renault Sporting Director Alan Permane was pleased with the team’s efforts, giving credit to a recent test that the team did at the track prior to the practice sessions.
“It was a very solid day from both our drivers and, of course, the team. We came here very well prepared after running a two-day test here a couple of weeks ago,” Permane said.
“We were straight into a rhythm this morning with the cars performing well and the drivers happy with the balance and grip. Our long run pace was also decent this afternoon and – with good information on all tyres – we can develop a decent race strategy. We now look forward to a competitive qualifying tomorrow.”