RACE DEBRIEF

    Daniel Ricciardo might be about to leave Renault but he thinks he is set to sign off with his best season in Formula 1 to date, if he can finish the year strongly in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

    A difficult Turkish Grand Prix saw Ricciardo slip to sixth in the drivers’ championship, four points behind fourth-place Sergio Perez. The battle to be best of the rest behind the Mercedes drivers and Max Verstappen looks set to go down to the final race, and Ricciardo – who has two podiums to his name this year ahead of his switch to McLaren – feels he has made significant progress in his two years with Renault.

    READ MORE: Ricciardo determined to resolve ‘unfinished business’ for Renault in Bahrain after 2019 double-DNF

    “Yes I’ve enjoyed the season,” Ricciardo said. “About half an hour ago I was watching an onboard of me around here last year, which was race two of 2019, and my second race in the Renault, and it is funny because I know it was me in the car, I know what was going through my head when I look at an old on-board of myself.

    “I can even see some tendencies that I have or some lack of confidence in some areas of the track, so I watch that now and I’m like ‘OK, it is not the same driver that was here 18 months ago’. I’ve definitely come a long way with this team and with this car, and I feel a lot more comfortable now.

    Daniel Ricciardo 'excited' for final races as he battles for top 4 finish

    “So this year has been strong. I have enjoyed it a lot. It is hard to talk highly about yourself, but I’ve been very pleased with the way I performed, so it is up there. There are still three to go so if I close these three out strong then I will definitely say it is up there with my best season.”

    READ MORE: Why Ricciardo has gambled his future on McLaren – rather than staying at Renault

    Capping off the season with strong results is a big ask, however, as Renault face tough competition from Racing Point, McLaren and Ferrari for third in the constructors’ championship. Regardless of the end result, Ricciardo is proud of how his team at Enstone have performed, after a shock move from Red Bull back in 2018.

    “Moving on and leaving the team where you formed relationships and work closely with them, it is never easy. These decisions are not easy and moving on is not easy. I’m a fairly, let’s say, I don’t know if affectionate is the word, but I’m an emotional person and that. So moving on does make it sometimes tricky for me, but I do feel that this year has certainly solidified a lot of what I wanted to get out of this chapter, and my career with Renault.

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    Ricciardo took a single point from Turkey with a P10 finish

    “Last year was certainly still a year of understanding within myself and also the team. This year we certainly turned a corner, and a lot of us in the team can openly say we’ve actually done even better than we anticipated. A couple of podiums has been great, and it is not done yet. I certainly want to close this book the best way possible.

    “It is so close, and I keep thinking Racing Point and McLaren, but there is also Ferrari in the mix. So it is very close. I do want to get on top of those battles to leave feeling fulfilled. That’ll have a big impact on how I feel leaving. So I will leave it all on the table and will move on with happiness.”

    READ MORE: Sainz looking to end Bahrain curse in 2020 after five point-less outings at the track

    2020

    Constructors' standings with 3 races to go

    POSITION POINTS
    1 Mercedes Mercedes Mercedes 504
    2 Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing 240
    3 Racing Point Racing Point Racing Point 154
    4 McLaren McLaren McLaren 149
    5 Renault Renault Renault 136