Daniel Ricciardo: Renault character shows amid setbacks

Daniel Ricciardo says Renault warrants credit for the “character” it has displayed in the wake of recent troubles both on- and off-track.

Renault has endured a fraught season in Formula 1 and holds only fifth in the championship, with its goal of closing the gap to the leaders failing to materialise.

It arrived in Mexico shortly after news broke that it had been disqualified from the result of the Japanese Grand Prix.

On Friday it was confirmed that Renault’s F1 project will be assessed as part of the major review that is set to begin at the company, throwing its post-2020 participation in doubt.

Its on-track problems continued on Saturday as a cooling issue robbed it of running in practice, before Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg both dropped out in Q2.

Ricciardo started 13th but ran a Hard/Medium strategy – the only driver to do so – as he rose to eighth place, adding four points to his and Renault’s collection.

“I’m happy with how the team has kept their spirits high,” Ricciardo explained post-race to Motorsport Week.

“So many times this year circumstances have tried to knock us down and you can see it does creep in sometimes, and it creeps into me as well, [in qualifying] it showed.

“But we’ve regrouped quickly, I‘m proud of the team for that.

“Cyril’s [Abiteboul] been going through a lot, since Japan, and also at Renault, the company itself, there’s been some changes, he’s remained really strong this weekend.

“We’ll try and keep it up, backs against the wall, but it’s brought out some character in us.”

Ricciardo came within inches of taking seventh place from Sergio Perez but ran deep into Turn 1 and had to take to the grass.

“I saw seventh, obviously Perez, we had a few laps to get him, I thought he’d be easy money as we had the better tyre, but he was strong and had some straight-line speed,” he said.

“There was one lap I had to go and try. It was the closest I was. I knew it was going to be tough. I sent it deep…and the postman wasn’t there.”