Aussie F1 superstar Daniel Ricciardo has signed off on his best finish since moving to Renault with a sneaky little jab at Red Bull.
Ricciardo finished fourth in the Italian GP behind race winner Charles LeClerc — and teammate Nico Hulkenberg was in fifth to give Renault it’s best result since it returned to Formula One in 2016.
It was also Ricciardo’s best finish since moving to Renault and matched his best ever result at the track.
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The Aussie superstar left Red Bull at the end of last season, coinciding with the team moving from Renault engines to Honda engines.
Ricciardo has admitted concerns over switching to Honda played a part in his decision to move to Renault, but the Aussie had to watch former teammate Max Verstappen win the Austrian and German Grand Prixes with the new engine.
But since the summer break, Verstappen has not been the power he was in the first half of the year, finishing eighth in Italy after starting from the back of the grid after engine upgrade penalties.
Daniel Ricciardo had a great weekend.Source:AFP
After leaving Red Bull in the middle of an F1 power struggle between the two teams, Ricciardo thanked his team working on the engines as Renault delivered power they hadn’t been able to muster in the early stages of the season.
“I want to give a special shout-out — obviously I’m happy for the whole team, but to the boys in Viry, building the engines,” he said. “I think to get the best team result here in Monza on a power circuit since 2008 is a real statement. They’ve copped a lot of grief in the last few years and they’ve made some big gains this year on the power unit, so this one’s for them.”
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Much of the grief came from Red Bull who constantly slammed the Renault engines, most of the time with Ricciardo in the middle.
Eight retirements in 2018 derailed Ricciardo’s season but the Aussie decided to move to the French team in a move that shocked the grid.
The testy relationship between Red Bull boss Christian Horner and his Renault counterpart Cyril Abiteboul led to some bitter back and forth throughout the back end of last season.
But post-race in Italy, Ricciardo said the team had finally got the best result out of the car.
“Since Canada I don’t think we’ve got the maximum result out of it,” Ricciardo said. “We had a decent run in Silverstone. I really believe we were a fourth place car today. Obviously Seb gave us a bit of help, I saw he spun … but once we were in fourth, I thought we definitely had that pace.”
The Renault’s were up with the big boys at Monza.Source:AFP
The result moves Renault up to fifth in the constructors championship, 18 points behind Renault customer team McLaren.
After a much needed result, team managing director Cyril Abiteboul said it was good to have a positive weekend.
“It’s been bumpy this year, there have been a number of occasions where we could have had some very different results, sometimes because of our own cause, sometimes external factors,” he said. “This time, nothing was against us and it was a deserved result.
“I think it’s fair to say the job done on the engine side was very clear, we were competitive in Montreal, in Spa, in Monza, I think the demonstration is clear. The weaknesses of the car are still there which is why I’m not overjoyed because I know there will be tough times ahead of us this season but it’s just a demonstration of the strength which has been clearly exposed this weekend.”
Hulkenberg, who claimed his best result since the 2018 German Grand Prix, said the result is something the team has been building towards and that it was just getting started.
“It’s always difficult to expect something very good but coming from Spa we knew we had pace here and things were good but we were compromised with the grid penalties,” he said. “We knew we were in good form, good shape for here, but we delivered. We awarded ourselves with the most points we’ve scored since I’ve been in the team at least. Pace was good operational wise, it feels great after a difficult year to finally have a really good weekend.”
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