Ricciardo coy on Renault’s podium chances

Jamie Woodhouse

Daniel Ricciardo takes inspiration from F2 for Russian GP race start.

Daniel Ricciardo finished Friday practice ahead of the Russian Grand Prix in P3, but isn’t ready to target a podium yet.

Renault have without doubt followed a steady upwards trend throughout 2020, and after two P4 finishes in the last three races for Ricciardo, he is getting closer to that first podium with the French manufacturer.

And the signs are looking promising again at the Sochi Autodrom after Ricciardo ended the afternoon practice session in P3, following on from his P2 in the opening session of the race weekend.

By the end of FP2 Ricciardo’s buffer over regular P3 man Max Verstappen was almost half a second, and the Red Bull driver picked out Renault as his biggest threat for the race weekend.

But while very happy with his and Renault’s performance on Friday, Ricciardo thinking of a shoey just yet.

“Early days,” he told reporters at the Sochi Autodrom.

“If we can put it here in qualy, then for sure, I’ll be confident of that.

“I think there’s all the cars around two or three-tenths of us, and I’m sure that will be the battle tomorrow.

“It’s all going to close up, so if we can get and stay that tenth ahead, then we’ll look alright.”

The Russian Grand Prix has never really been a happy hunting ground for Ricciardo. P6 is the highest he has ever finished here back at the 2018 staging of the event.

“It’s probably the first time I’ve ever really been hooked up around here,” he admitted.

“It felt good. I think the first run this morning was already, I was on it, and stayed on it for the rest of the day.

“So yeah, really happy with another good Friday.”

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Although Ricciardo’s team-mate Esteban Ocon is left searching for half a second on Ricciardo heading into FP3, the Frenchman was still able to feature in the top 10 in both FP1 and FP2.

Unsurprisingly then he is full of optimism for the race weekend.

“With the car, we have the potential of doing properly well this weekend, it feels good,” he explained.

“We had plenty of testing, so we’ll have everything to go through and analyse properly. But tomorrow, it’s up to us to put everything together and make it happen.

“We have a few different characteristics in terms of aero [compared to Ricciardo] and a few different things in terms of engine as well. A few things differently, but we know where we are.

“We know the pace which is promising, so it’s up to us to make it happen tomorrow.”

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