Despite losing Esteban Ocon to a brake overheating issue, Renault F1 had a pretty impressive race at Mugello. Daniel Ricciardo finished the Tuscan Grand Prix in P4, equaling his best-ever finish for the French team and earning the team 12 vital points, keeping them in touch with rivals Racing Point and McLaren.
However, such a performance was not quite expected of them in Tuscany. Yes, they did well at Spa and Monza, both of which are low downforce tracks. However, the team and its drivers never quite expected to pass the Mugello test with flying colors.
Prior to the Tuscan Grand Prix, Renault had struggled on tracks that demanded high downforce. So, a P4 finish from Ricciardo was not only a satisfying result, but it further showcased the development the team has made with its car, the RS20.
Speaking about the team’s performance this weekend, the Australian said, “We might be a little sad that we got so close to a podium. But when we step back and look at the performance, it was a track we didn’t really expect to be particularly competitive on.”
“It’s a higher downforce one, it’s one where we haven’t been that particularly strong. Barcelona, these style circuits, aren’t our strength, and we showed good progress on this style.”
Daniel Ricciardo believes Mugello performance is “encouraging”
Ricciardo said, “I think that’s really encouraging. It gives us a bit of optimism coming towards some other high downforce circuits. It looks like we are getting the car in a better place.”
“It’s still so close to that pack. But I think on Sundays for sure our race pace is solid. So if we qualify towards the front, it puts us in a good place.”
Renault currently stands in fifth place, with 63 points after 9 races, on the Constructors’ Championship leaderboard. In the last two races, they have come agonizingly close to notching their first podium since 2011 (Nick Heidfeld at the Malaysian Grand Prix).
So, there are definitely signs of improvement and the future seems bright. Can Ricciardo, or perhaps Ocon, end the Enstone-based team’s long search for a podium in Sochi? We’ll have to wait for the 27th of September to find out.