Ricciardo enjoys ‘fun’ COTA race, as Renault take first back-to-back double points
Consistency hasn’t been Renault’s strong suit in 2019. But after back-to-back double scores for the squad in Mexico and the USA, Daniel Ricciardo was revelling in his team’s improved performance.
Ricciardo finished a fighting sixth at the Circuit of The Americas – having taken P8 in Mexico last weekend – the Australian just managing to make a one-stop work to head off two-stopping race-long rival Lando Norris by 0.398s at the chequered flag.
Crucially, it was the first time they managed consecutive double-points-scoring weekends this season as Nico Hulkenberg ended up ninth in the USA.
Norris opting for a two-stop made me a little nervous trying to stay out there on a one
“It was fun,” Ricciardo said. “Good for the team, double points. That’s now back-to-back finally, two good weekends, so we have a successive result, which is nice.
“The start was pretty good,” he added. “We initially got both McLarens and then the Ferraris were fighting in front. I maybe got a little bit boxed in, but then Lando had a good run on the outside of 13 and got me back.
“So then we settled into a pace with him and then a few laps later I got him back, and we kind of went back and forth for the whole race. Then he opted for a two-stop. Made me a little nervous trying to stay out there on a one. The last corner, he got pretty close but held off so happy with sixth.”
Hulkenberg endured a miserable first stint of the race, losing out on Lap 1 and sinking down the order after starting on the hard tyres, before making a strong recovery – including an enjoyable battle with Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen – to finish ninth, in what was a bittersweet result, according to the German…
“Two contrasts in the race,” he said. “First half was really bad – it wasn’t looking very bright. And then in the end, the second half was much more enjoyable, much more fun, had some good pace there, couple of good fights and coming through cars, so happy to get at least two points in the end.
“I think there was more on the table, but I was just a bit unlucky in Lap 1. Outside of Turn 2, a Red Bull and somebody else came across the track and pushed me wide and then I lost two or three positions with that, and that put me really on the back foot on Lap 1 and from there it was hard to recover.”
The bad news for Renault in Austin was that, with McLaren matching the team’s score of 10 from the race, Renault weren’t able to make in-roads into their rivals’ fourth place in the constructors’ standings, with McLaren seemingly nailed on to claim their best finish in the standings since 2012.