Daniel Ricciardo says he’s encouraged by the progress Renault is making on high downforce tracks after a strong showing at Mugello.
Ricciardo came closest to finishing on the podium again since he joined Renault, being passed by Alex Albon while running in P3 late on.
While he was disappointed to miss out, he’s pleased with the progress of the team considering Mugello was a track they expected to struggle at.
“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,” he said as per Autosport.com.
“It’s a higher downforce one, it’s one where we haven’t been that particularly strong. Barcelona, these style circuits, aren’t our strengths, and we showed good progress on this style.”
Renault’s best performances so far this season came at Spa and Monza, two low downforce tracks. This is largely down to the fact that the car is fast in a straight-line but struggles in the corners.
However, Ricciardo’s P4 finish at Mugello showed that this is changing, and that makes him optimistic for the rest of the season, which features a number of high downforce races.
However, he says for them to make the most of their strong race pace, they need to perform on Saturdays.
“I think that’s really encouraging. It gives us a bit of optimism coming towards some other high downforce circuits,” he added.
“It looks like we’re getting the car in a better place. It’s still so close in 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.”
Ricciardo is currently P7 in the Driver’s Championship with 53 points, comfortably ahead of Esteban Ocon. However, with Lando Norris just 12 points ahead in P4, the Aussie will be aiming to finish ahead of both his current and future team-mates.