Daniel Riccardo was one of the stars of Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday, and the Renault DP World F1 Team driver will line-up on the second row of the grid for Sunday’s race.
The Australian sat third after the first runs in Q3 but was denied at the death by former team-mate Max Verstappen, but fourth on the grid heralded a good day for Ricciardo and for Renault.
Ricciardo feels the R.S.16 has good pace in the dry, particularly due to its low downforce set-up, although he still hopes to be competitive on Sunday even if rain hits the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“I’m very happy with today’s qualifying,” said Ricciardo. “It was so close to the top three, but Max got me by a couple of tenths at the end.
“My lap was clean and probably as good as it was going to get. I left it all out there and the second row is a big reward. The car works well in lower downforce and that was the same last year.
“Tomorrow looks interesting. We have good pace in the dry, but if it’s wet, we’ve shown in the past we’re not bad either. If it rains, it creates more opportunities, so whatever the conditions, we’ll take it and aim to do the best possible job.”
“It’s been pretty good all weekend” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon ended the afternoon with the sixth fastest time and the Frenchman says the changes made to the car this weekend has given everyone confidence.
Ocon, who finished second fastest in Saturday morning’s final free practice session, says the grid positions for both cars gives Renault the opportunity to fight for big points on Sunday afternoon, even if the forecasted rain arrives.
“It’s been pretty good all weekend and we’ve certainly looked strong with the car handling a lot better than the past couple of races,” said Ocon. “All the changes we made coming into this race has given us confidence and we’ve seen it’s working well on track.
“It feels good, so I’m happy. We have a great chance to fight tomorrow. There is a chance of rain, so that could be interesting, and we’ll give our best for a good team result.”
“We feel confident in all conditions” – Alan Permane
Alan Permane, the Sporting Director at Renault, says that both R.S.20’s have been well-balanced and working well all weekend long at Spa-Francorchamps, and it was pleasing to see both cars qualify inside the top six.
Looking ahead to race day, he feels that both Ricciardo and Ocon should be competitive whether the rain arrives in Belgium or not, with the team looking for a good haul of points in the Constructors’ Championship.
“It was a very good qualifying session for us today, with Daniel finishing fourth and Esteban sixth,” said Permane. “Both cars are working well and have been nicely balanced since the first runs of Friday.
“Looking ahead to the race tomorrow, there is more of a threat of rain than the past couple of days, but we feel confident in all conditions. We can have a very strong race and bring a good points haul home for the team.”