Daniel Ricciardo continued to exert his Qualifying dominance over team-mate Esteban Ocon at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday, although just 0.002 seconds separated the duo in Q3.
The Renault DP World F1 Team drivers will start sixth and seventh on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix, and Ricciardo says he was pleased with the lap that enabled him to qualify on the third row of the grid, at the expense of his team-mate by the narrowest of margins.
Ricciardo says it will be important for the team to put pressure on BWT Racing Point Formula One Team’s Sergio Pérez on Sunday as Renault look to bounce back from their poor result in the Turkish Grand Prix in the battle for third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I’m happy with the top six today,” said Ricciardo. “It was very close, but I was pleased with my lap to put us up there at the top end of the timesheets.
“I used both new sets in Q1 so I only had one new set in Q3 and maybe with an additional run it could have been a little better. It’s still good, though, and I’m happy Esteban is up there as well.
“It’s important for the Constructors’ and we need to put pressure on Sergio [Perez] tomorrow. I think the race will be interesting. The compounds are softer than last year, so I’ll be surprised if it’s a one-stop tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll see some variety on strategy.”
“It’s great that we have both cars in the top ten” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Ocon felt it was a good session for Renault, with the Frenchman positive that both drivers were able to get into the top ten by using the medium Pirelli tyre.
Despite starting on what is expected to be the preferred race tyre, Ocon is expecting for it to be a tough day for the tyres on Sunday, and keeping tyre performance for as long as possible will be key to a strong result.
“The car felt awesome today and I’m very happy with our qualifying result,” said Ocon. “It was a good lap in Q3 with just 0.002secs between Daniel and I, which is almost as tight as it gets!
“Overall, we produced a good session and it was very well managed by the team. We got through Q1 on one set and then in Q2 we managed to qualify in the top ten on Mediums.
“It’s great that we have both cars in the top ten, but it’s not done yet. We know tomorrow’s race will feature high degradation and a lot is likely to happen. We’ll have to fight hard to score solid points tomorrow.”