It was a bittersweet day for Renault at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo claiming a well-deserved third place, the second podium in a row for the Australian while his teammate Esteban Ocon suffered a DNF due to a transmission problem.
Watched all weekend by soon to return double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, the team is now third in the championship standings with a car that is now top of the midpack, only bettered by the all-conquering Mercs and the one-man-show Red Bull.
The Spaniard, who replaces Ricciardo in the team for next year, will no doubt be enjoying what he is seeing in the yellow and black pit garage.
Daniel summed up his afternoon at Imola, after downing a shoey on the podium with race winner Lewis Hamilton, “Two podiums in three races! I’m very happy and I didn’t forget to do the ‘shoey’ this time around!
“We were pretty settled in fifth but then Max triggered the safety car. It was the right thing to stay out, especially after Perez pitted. It is pretty difficult to overtake here and it was worth the risk today: it paid off. It’s a shame about Esteban as the car was strong today.
“The result here means we get into third in the Championship, which is what the team is aiming for. I’m super happy to come away from Imola with a great podium: big thanks for everyone at the team. No second tattoo this time round though, I think Cyril’s suffered enough!”
The Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul reported, “Our strategy team made the bold decision not to stop again, assuming that we had enough life and pace to contain the threat from behind. It was very brave, but it paid off thanks to a fantastic drive from Daniel.
“With his engineers, he managed to keep the exact tyre temperature required during the long safety car and then managed an amazing last few laps to get to the end and give us another podium.”
Before that he had words for luckless Ocon, “I’d like to start by apologising to Esteban as it was another retirement due to a technical issue. He was not far off yesterday and had a decent start to be in the mix despite the early stop to remove the tear-off from his ducts. He then suffered from an issue that caused some trouble with his gearbox and he had to retire.”
Esteban added, “It was a tough weekend overall, with a succession of bad luck this weekend. We had a few issues this afternoon. We had a tear-off in the brake duct, which meant that we pitted early to take it off and then we had a gearbox problem.
“Nonetheless I’m very happy for the team today for this podium again, well done to Daniel. This is very positive for the team, we are coming strong and it bodes well for the rest of the season and months to come.
“We are third in the championship now; we knew this is what we are fighting for so it’s good to be ending the weekend like this,” added the French driver.