Renault DP World F1 Team continued their run of a week of strong results at the Russian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo finished in fifth place and hasn’t finished any lower than sixth in the past four races. It also puts him sixth in the Drivers Championship, just two points shy of Lando Norris in fourth, this years ‘best of the rest’ position.
Ricciardo’s race wasn’t so straight forward. He managed to get around Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez on the first corner but found himself falling down the pack, after a lock up at Turn 7, ending up in sixth. Later in the race, team-mate Esteban Ocon was struggling to get round the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and was given team orders to let Ricciardo by. Ricciardo then made a mistake cutting the exit of Turn 2, resulting in a five second time penalty. This did not end up hinder his race too much as he crossed the line in fifth, over ten seconds away from Charles Leclerc in sixth.
Ricciardo said: “I’m pleased with the result today and it’s a decent one for the team as well. I had a great start and got up to third in the first few corners before falling back to fifth. The race then changed on the Hard tyres, we had good pace but obviously I made the mistake getting past Esteban into Turn 2 and had the time penalty. I locked the front brakes, so I take responsibility for that, but I was able to put that mistake right and recover well.
“Taking a step back, I’m pretty happy with my day, and the end result, as we take home some good points. The car is working well, and reliability is good, so everything has come together nicely for us.”
Esteban Ocon also had a good race, finishing seventh, his highest finish in three races. He is however, disappointed with his races believing more points were on the cards for him. Ocon had incredible pace on the softs, nearly matching that of Verstappen. When the tyres were changed to hards, he thinks that hindered his race.
“It’s a great team result, overall, so that’s good. When we put on the Hards, the car was not the same. It was a bit tricky to drive and I was struggling with grip and balance and I just wasn’t as happy as I was on the Softs. I was almost following Max [Verstappen] on the Softs at the beginning of the race, so that’s something for us to review there. Said Ocon.
“Potentially, more points were possible, but we’re still happy with the result and how our race went. We know the car is quick and that’s good for future races. We’re going in the right direction; we’re catching the guys in front and that’s the target for the Constructors’ Championship. We’re getting there.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, praised the teams’ run over the past ten races. Renault have now exceeded the points tally they achieved last year in eleven fewer races. The team currently sits fifth in the Constructors Championship, seven points away from McLaren F1 Team in third.
“The weekend has delivered a strong team result with 16 points added to the Constructors’ Championship. We felt since Friday morning that we could achieve that sort of position and it’s good to have done that. Obviously, you always want more, but the four cars that finished ahead of Daniel deserved to be where they are.” Said Abiteboul.
We knew we would be under the threat of the cars starting outside the top ten and that’s exactly what happened with Leclerc and Kvyat. But Daniel was really impressive in building the required gap to Leclerc to absorb the five-second penalty from going deep into Turn 2 when we swapped the cars to mitigate the time lost behind Vettel. Esteban, on his side, struggled a bit more with grip at times during the race, but was remarkable in defending from Kvyat for more than 20 laps and contributed to the overall team achievement.
We leave Sochi with 99 points after 10 races, which is more than what we scored last year over a 21-race season, which is a clear demonstration of the team’s progression, year on year. It’s also closer than ever to the two teams ahead and it’s going to be a very exciting fight with both of them to the end of the season.”