Ricciardo hails ‘top 6’ pace of R.S.20 at Silverstone as he finishes just 1.1s off the podium
Daniel Ricciardo very nearly secured his 30th Formula 1 podium as he finished just 1.1s behind Charles Leclerc at the British Grand Prix, but although he missed out on a first top three finish since 2018, the Renault driver was still pleased with his result on a day when his R.S.20 showed "top six" pace.
Ricciardo qualified eighth at Silverstone after Renault burned the midnight oil on Friday, breaking curfew to replace his fractured chassis – and he made up two places at the expense of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and future McLaren team mate Lando Norris by the end of Lap 1.
But by the end of the second Safety Car on Lap 18, Ricciardo had pitted and emerged seventh – losing a place to Norris on the restart, and his run to fourth from there was not easy.
“On the restart with the hard [tyre] I struggled a lot with the front-left tyre, then in traffic it was getting worse and worse and I thought we weren’t going to be fast with the hard tyre for that last part of the race, or the middle to the end. But once I got in clear air I was just able to push on it and it held up,” he said.
A lap 35 pass on Romain Grosjean came after a tough battle, in which Grosjean appeared to move under braking going into Brooklands - a move Ricciardo branded "sketchy” over the radio to his engineer. Then, he managed to take sixth place off Norris on Lap 48. Two tyre issues in the penultimate two laps, one for Valtteri Bottas and another for Carlos Sainz, promoted him to fourth by the flag.
“I could see I was closing into the McLarens a bit and it looked like they were closing in on Charles [Leclerc],” he continued. “We had pace - I saw Charles was actually 1.1s at the finish in front, so [I was] quite close to the podium. But it was a good race for the team: fourth and sixth [for Esteban Ocon] - nice to get some big points.
"We were assisted by some chaos, but we were definitely a top six car today and that’s pleasing,” he added.
With Ocon's sixth place, the British Grand Prix marked Renault’s first double-points finish since the 2019 US Grand Prix – and they go again next week with the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, when the tyre allocation for all the teams will be one step softer those used for Sunday's race.
“Next week will be interesting with softer compounds," Ricciardo added, "but I think it just forces us to do a two-stop and maybe make it more exciting again."