Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo: “We’re so close to the podium again”

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Credit: Renault DP World F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo will be disappointed that he didn’t position himself on that third step. The Australian driver was on course for his first podium for Renault DP World F1 Team and his first since his win in Monaco 2018. 

He greatly improved his race from the start, going to sixth from eighth. After Max Verstappen’s retirement and a red flag, Ricciardo managed to get himself up to fourth, with just Lance Stroll in his way from a podium. He managed to get the undercut during pit-stops which promoted him to third once Stroll pitted.

During the last quarter of the race, Stroll suffered a puncture which sent his car flying into the wall. This red-flagged the session. On the restart, Ricciardo went up to second but unfortunately his car wasn’t as quick as Valtteri Bottas’ and Alexander Albon’s and finished fourth.

“I’m really happy with today’s race and we’re so close to the podium again. It was a long day, a long race with the stoppages and incidents, but the main thing is that all the drivers are okay,” said Ricciardo.

“It looked like we were on for third towards the end of the race, so it’s a shame to come so close. We can’t get any closer than that and we’ll keep pushing.

Our starts were good, we got Valtteri [Bottas], but he and Alex [Albon] were just too quick to hold on. It hurts not to be on the podium after that, but fourth is still a big result today.”

“Under the Safety Car, the rear brakes were on fire” – Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon was unfortunately one of the eight retirements from the Tuscan Grand Prix. Ocon came into issues under the first safety car when his brakes caught fire. 

On the restart, Ocon was able to continue, however, when the session was red-flagged, the team worked hard to get the car sorted but could not and had to take the decision to retire.

Ocon said: “We had a brake overheating issue, which is why we had to retire today. Under the Safety Car, the rear brakes were on fire, which caused damage to the rear of the car and the brake line and we couldn’t put the car back together during the red flag. 

“We were in a good position at the start, but I had to go around, Carlos [Sainz] and I lost a couple of positions there. I felt we had the pace for solid points. It looked a cool race to be in with lots going on. It’s getting pretty crazy this year, which is interesting and there are more opportunities for big results.”

“The main takeaway from this weekend is that we should never take anything for granted” – Cyril Abiteboul

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, has mixed feeling on the outcome from Sunday’s race. He believed the team deserved to get a car on the podium today, but the pace couldn’t quite battle on the restarts. 

Abiteboul currently has a bet with Ricciardo that if he secures a podium before leaving Renault at the end of the season, he will get a tattoo. I’m sure he had a small sigh of relief but would have always preferred the podium.

“After a rollercoaster of emotions since Friday, it’s good to be disappointed with fourth!” said Abiteboul. “We have believed in that podium for a while and the team probably deserved it, but Alex Albon had better pace at the last restart with the Red Bull. It was a very eventful race, but I believe we did all the right things.

“Daniel drove a great race to finish where he did. The only regret is that we had only one car in this brilliant race as Esteban had to retire due to a brake overheating problem; the root cause of which will have to be investigated. The main takeaway from this weekend is that we should never take anything for granted. 

“We came here expecting a very difficult weekend with track characteristics that usually do not suit our car, but we still managed to make it work. It’s another indication that we can extract more while the factories develop future improvements. It’s also been a fantastic first event at Mugello, a great track for the drivers and their machines!”

Credit: Renault DP World F1 Team

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