Daniel Ricciardo reflected on his Qualifying performance for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Saturday was pride, as the Australian was able to set the fifth fastest time overall to sit on the third row of the grid.
The Renault DP World F1 Team racer showed that the pace he showed during Friday’s practice session wasn’t just a one-off as he easily got through to the top ten shootout on Pirelli’s medium compound, and then set a time good enough for third until both Nico Hülkenberg and Max Verstappen beat him in the closing moments.
“I think fifth place is an awesome result for us and I’m very happy with that,” said Ricciardo. “I knew my lap was pretty good, I really was on the limit with the car and I got pretty much all I could from it today.
“I don’t have any regrets, or any feeling of a missed opportunity and we’ve put ourselves right up there for the race. We had the Medium working really well and I’m happy with that.”
Ricciardo feels Sunday’s race at Silverstone will be ‘interesting’ due to the tyre choices available to the teams, and he is expecting a mixture of strategies to play out. He hopes Renault can choose the strategy that will help him at least consolidate his position or even improve on race day.
“Tomorrow’s race will be interesting and there will be a mixture of strategies,” said the Australian. “We know we have a good race car, we just needed to qualify better to give ourselves an even better chance on a Sunday.
“I’ll do my best tomorrow and give it all I have.”
“It’s a disappointing session overall” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon was not as happy with his performance as Ricciardo was, with the Frenchman missing out on the top ten with the substantial gap to the Australian leaving him down in eleventh.
To make matters worse, Ocon was handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Williams Racing’s George Russell during Qualifying, meaning he will start fourteenth on Sunday.
The Frenchman, who returned to Formula 1 at the beginning of 2020 after a year away from the sport, says investigations will take place to just why he was so far off the pace of Ricciardo, with Ocon admitting he could not carry the kind of speed he wanted to when it was needed.
“It’s a disappointing session overall as I felt my lap in Q2 was pretty good,” admitted Ocon. “The gap to Daniel was clearly big in that session so we need to investigate why.
“It could be something we just didn’t understand entirely on the car after yesterday. The car felt very capable today with a bit more in hand. I just couldn’t carry the speed when I needed to.
“We also have the incident with George [Russell]. It was no one on track’s fault, but it’s something we should have managed better.
“Last week’s race was good, we had the pace, so hopefully that will be the case tomorrow.”
“Our focus is on scoring solid points with both cars” – Alan Permane
Alan Permane, the Sporting Director at Renault, said there were ‘mixed emotions’ following Saturday’s Qualifying session, as he felt the two cars should have been closer together than they ultimately were.
Permane was pleased that Ricciardo was able to extract as much as he did out of the car to get up to fifth, but the disappointment came when Ocon in the other car was eliminated in Q2, with his qualifying result then compromised further by his grid penalty.
The aim for Renault however remains to score ‘solid’ points with both cars, something Permane believes is a possibility at Silverstone.
“Obviously, we’re left with mixed emotions today with our cars quite far apart,” said Permane. “We’re very happy for Daniel, he did a great job all the way through to Q3. He made some set-up changes yesterday that were different to last weekend, and it really improved the car.
“For Esteban we didn’t do a good enough job for him, he was struggling with rear end grip and obviously has the penalty from impeding George [Russell] in qualifying.
“We look forward to tomorrow and our focus is on scoring solid points with both cars.”