By: Myanna Wedes
The rivalry between the Renault drivers has been born. It is Australian versus French in terms of the top spot at the French factory. During the Styrian Grand Prix, Ricciardo was certainly faster and being held up and then team orders came in to play in order to let the Australian driver unleash and go forward.
Ricciardo was not satisfied with his race finish and it was a DNF for Ocon which hurt. The Renault car is still not up to scratch and that can be hard to stomach when you see other cars passing you that have improved so drastically since 2019. For example: Racing Point and Lance Stroll in particular for Ricciardo who was almost a sitting duck in the final stages of the race.
You can see both drivers want more and have the ability to go fast. Ricciardo does not want to give his Friday seat up to Alonso. He wants to improve and finish with Renault in a good way because points equal money and wins/podiums = bragging rights plus success.
Daniel Ricciardo, started P8, finished P8
“We certainly hoped for more today. I had a good start and made some decent progress up the order. The Mediums felt good on our first stint, but when we put the Soft on it wasn’t as quick as we’d hoped, and it didn’t really give us as much as we’d thought. The end of the race was frustrating, and I was struggling to hold on to the position on the last couple of laps. On the incident, I did see Stroll coming but I felt if I turned in, we would have crashed, so I had to make that call. I maybe should have blocked him and it’s a shame to lose a couple of positions from that one moment. The overriding feeling is frustration, but we’re up and running for the season now.”
Esteban Ocon, started P5, DNF
“We had a cooling issue with the car and that was very unfortunate. These things happen in motorsport, but we know we had a great opportunity today and it’s a shame where we were running to retire the car. Hopefully it won’t happen again this year. It was good to have some fun with Daniel; we were both on different strategies and I think he had a bit more on tyres. We looked on for a good team result, so it’s a shame what happened. We have another opportunity next week to score some points.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“Lots of emotions after a weekend like this one. We had good emotions after qualifying yesterday with both cars reaching Q3 and Esteban who showed a very strong pace in extreme conditions, demonstrating his outstanding driving skills in his second qualifying with us. Today, the emotions were much more painful after another retirement for one of our cars caused by exactly the same issue as last weekend. We had put lots of effort to return, examine the parts in Enstone, and send it back to the track, but clearly there is something that we missed. This poor level of reliability is, obviously, not acceptable in a field that is so tight. The race also showed that we need a bit more pace against our direct competitors. Daniel had a good race and he did well to defend for so long. Overall, the prevailing feeling is one of disappointment, however, we should not deter from the fact we’ve improved massively at this track compared to previous years. The car has made huge steps forwards but so have the other teams. Now it’s gloves off for the rest of the season.”