Esteban Ocon has emphasised that he is getting on top of Renault’s R.S.20 in qualifying despite failing to beat team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in dry conditions this season.
Ocon returned to Formula 1 with Renault this year, after sitting out the 2019 campaign, and secured a standout fifth on the grid in the rain-lashed Styrian GP session.
But in the other eight qualifying sessions, held in dry conditions, Ocon has trailed Ricciardo.
However Ocon, 24, is adamant that progress is being made.
“It has been quite close in some events,” said Ocon. “A bit less close [at others] and some others where we faced issues with the car and how comfortable I felt in it.
“It is true that is been difficult a bit this season and some of the aspects.
“[At Mugello] it was not the case. I felt very comfortable behind the wheel. We were matching the whole qualifying and it was going to be up to that last Q3 run.”
Ocon added that he and Renault had “long discussions” over the qualifying deficit and felt substantial gains were made at the Tuscan Grand Prix, in spite of his spin during the closing stages.
“It is definitely in terms of set-up and the choices we have made, and just for understanding what we needed from the car,” he said. “That is definitely what we struggled on.
“There were also a few times where I was losing a lot of straight-line speed, so that lasted two or three runs, which made us lose time. We had long discussions and what we should do to improve that.
“[At Mugello] it has paid off because the performance was good. I’m very satisfied with the weekend.
“I think in terms of pace against Daniel I think we were matching all the way through the weekend in practice and in qualifying. So this is what I am going to look for in the future events.”