Ricciardo faces ‘miserable’ Renault reality
RELIEVED to get his first points of the season at the Chinese GP, as his boss reflected on the team's "miserable" reality, Daniel Ricciardo said Renault would need to find improvements at each race.
Ricciardo had retired from the opening two races of 2019, but enjoyed his best weekend with his new team as he out-qualified teammate Nico Hulkenberg to start seventh, the same position he finished in.
"It's good obviously to get on board, and to finish the race - we were looking for that for the last couple," Ricciardo told Sky F1.
"Obviously we'll take the positives from that and try and build on that. There's obviously still a lot of work to do. We've still got work to do to get both cars home in the points.
"We'll take positives today but we're trying to find a bit more every weekend. It's a start this weekend."
Ricciardo said a positive showing in the first practice session had set the tone for his best weekend of the season and believed the rest of the team would get some much-needed confidence from finally seeing him reach the chequered flag.
After a one-stop strategy crippled his chances in Bahrain - as rivals who adopted a two-stop strategy zoomed past him - the Aussie took a bold gamble by again only opting to pit once in China. Fortunately for him, this time it worked.
"I'm happy that we made the one-stop work," he said. "Considering in Bahrain we tried it and it didn't work out for us, I am happy that we made it work.
"It was not easy. (Sergio) Perez was really quick, he pushed me in the whole race. I was trying to manage the gap for the moment, but then he was coming so I just had to go.
"Towards the end it was getting a bit tricky but he was also suffering, so it didn't make it too tense over the last few laps.
"I definitely felt like I managed it well. Part of me wanted the tyres to drop off quickly so I could say, 'Let's do a two-stop.' But they were not dropping off, so I was like, 'Let's try to push these.' I knew we had to go a long way with the hard and I was a little bit nervous. But happy we made it work."
But while Ricciardo could finally afford to smile, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul was slightly more pessimistic.
He said Ricciardo had "miserable" pace in Shanghai because of his one-stop approach and seventh was the best the team could hope for because of the reality of its limited capabilities compared to the top teams.
Abiteboul was upset, despite Ricciardo earning his first points, the car had still not reached its potential.
"There's nothing to be proud of, but just in terms of pace it was better than it looked, because we were so much into the tyre management," Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
"Even myself I didn't want a one-stop because of that reason, because I knew that our pace would look miserable. But it was very clear from our strategists that a two-stop would not work for us, so we had to make the one stop work, and it worked."
Abiteboul found a silver lining, however, praising Ricciardo's improved communication with his race engineer and team after suffering some teething issues since joining Renault this year.
With Sky Sports