Daniel Ricciardo says his Renault debut on home soil in Australia remains one of his standout memories from his two-year spell at the team as it underlined the progress that was required.
Ricciardo left the race-winning Red Bull squad after a five-year spell and linked up with a Renault squad that had yet to mount the podium since its Formula 1 return in 2016.
Ricciardo, who finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship in 2020, scored Renault’s first podium at the Nurburgring, and followed it up with another top-three result at Imola.
Team-mate Esteban Ocon then finished second at Sakhir, as Renault finished fifth overall, with its highest points total of the hybrid era.
But Ricciardo pointed to the start of the journey, when he suffered a disappointing event in Australia after a mid-grid qualifying result was followed by a first-lap error, as a key moment.
“I will keep the memory of my first race last year,” said Ricciardo, who will join McLaren for 2021.
“The whole week and I felt… I just left a little frustrated with the race itself, but it was a bit of a hit of like ‘we still have a lot of work to do’.
“In short, you remember the hard times and then appreciate the good times.
“I will certainly remember that, and now look back on it and actually see how much we have changed and how much we’ve improved, and how much more confidence we all have in the team.
“That feels like an eternity ago, but it is important to remember that because it is really just proof of what we have done.
“Obviously Nürburgring is the standout, the first podium, and hearing a few F-bombs from Cyril [Abiteboul], that was nice. Everyone was just elated with that, it was awesome.”
Renault will enter the 2021 season under the new name of Alpine, with two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso returning to partner incumbent Ocon.