Daniel Ricciardo praised Renault for being “brave” with set-up changes through the Belgian Grand Prix weekend as the manufacturer scored its highest points tally since its Formula 1 return.
Ricciardo set the fastest lap of the race on his way to fourth position while team-mate Esteban Ocon dispensed with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon late on to claim fifth.
It left Renault with a haul of 23 points and brought it into contention for third in the Constructors’ Championship, just nine points behind McLaren.
The result came after Ricciardo clocked encouraging pace during Friday’s second practice session and he praised Renault for being unafraid to make further car changes.
“We evolved a little bit with the track,” said Ricciardo. “We were not afraid to still change the car on Friday night.
“A lot of time when it is good you don’t want to touch it. But the track does change and a lot of the time you do need to keep changing the car to suit the conditions, so we still made a few changes on the car, which seemed a little brave at the time.
“But it made sense to do what we had to do, and it worked.
“At the time it seemed a bit risky, but we took more of a calculated risk and put it on the line and it paid off.
“The car is better with these low downforce settings for reasons that I am not too sure. I am not in aerodynamicist, but as a driver I certainly feel it is in a happier place with this style circuit.”
Ricciardo expects Renault’s strong levels of performance to carry through into this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
“If we are stronger there is only a podium in front of us,” he said. “I am not getting ahead of myself, or the team isn’t, but I think we can go to Monza with confidence, and aim high.
“And even if the strategy of [Pierre] Gasly and [Sergio] Perez did not put a buffer between Max [Verstappen] and myself, I really think I could’ve run with Max for that last stint.
“He pulled away because we lost time with the different strategy, but we reeled in a big gap towards the end. So Monza are all going well we should be competitive.”