Ricciardo targeting Q3 despite Sochi practice crash
Daniel Ricciardo has high hopes for Renault in Russia as the French manufacturer bids to usurp McLaren for fourth place in the constructors’ standings. And with grid penalties looming for many of their rivals, and some solid pace in Friday practice, a strong result could be on the cards...
Their FP1 performance put Renault’s pair at the top of the midfield, Nico Hulkenberg seventh and Ricciardo eighth – and although Ricciardo finished 14th in the second practice session, his team mate was inside the top 10 in P8.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who was fastest in second practice, and team mate Alexander Albon will take five-place grid penalties for Sunday's race after fitting a new Honda internal combustion engine.
Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly followed suit, while his team mate and home favourite Daniil Kvyat took a full change, which will confine him to the back of the grid.
“[We're targeting] best of the rest – is that what they call it?” he said. “Something like that. That’s a start, but yeah, ideally well into Q3 and then we’ll see.
"I know a few of the cars have penalties, Max [Verstappen] was very quick but I think he has a penalty, so we’ll get a few [places], I think three positions tomorrow, hopefully that puts us well inside the top 10."
Reanult are currently 22 points behind McLaren in the standings, but there's no doubt they have started the Sochi weekend off on the stronger foot.
If Carlos Sainz’s verdict post-Friday is anything to go by, Renault have the potential to take a big haul of points this weekend and spice up the fight for P4, with just five races to go after Russia.