Ricciardo: Sixth on grid at high-downforce Nurburgring confirms progress Renault have made
High downforce circuits have been a weakness of Renault this season, but their form in qualifying for the Eifel Grand Prix suggests they have made good progress, says Daniel Ricciardo after he went sixth quickest.
The Australian pipped team mate Esteban Ocon by just 0.019s, outqualifying him for the ninth successive race, well clear of the McLarens but two-tenths of a second adrift of Red Bull’s Alex Albon on a very cold but sunny day at the Nurburgring.
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“Solid one from the team again, sixth and seventh,” said Ricciardo. “A lot has gone on this weekend. We didn’t really realise, but this is pretty much a maximum downforce circuit, and these are the ones which we have shown most of our weaknesses on.
“Even Mugello wasn’t maximum downforce. This is more like Barcelona, where we have struggled more, so it confirms the progress the team has made. Sixth is alright. We can have a good one from there and obviously Charles and Alex in front, they could be in our race.”
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Ricciardo's Q3 lap was just shy of two-tenths of a second slower than his best in Q2, but the Honey Badger admitted he doesn’t think he could have beaten Albon or the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who was a fraction ahead even with his best lap.
“With my personal performance it was OK,” he said. “I did another quick lap in Q2 and couldn’t quite get it together in Q3. But I don’t think it made a difference to the position. Charles and Alex were a couple of tenths ahead and I didn’t quite have that.
“We’ll see what the race brings, I have no idea if it’s going to be wet, dry or how the tyres are going to behave. Hopefully it creates something interesting for not only us but fans and everyone tomorrow.”
Incidentally, sixth is the same position Ricciardo qualified on his last visit to the Nurburgring, back in 2013, when driving for Toro Rosso.