Renault pace ‘doesn’t add up’ for Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has claimed that his performance in the Austrian Grand Prix was dictated by a car that ‘doesn’t add up’.

The Australian ended the race outside of the points and was publicly frustrated with his performance.

Following qualifying he suggested there was something fundamentally wrong with the car, before going on to say that the team had gone ‘back to square one’ following Sunday’s effort.

More worrying is that the team apparently has no idea as to why both Ricciardo and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg struggled.

“I really hope we’re going to find something this week because, for example, Le Castellet was a lot windier yet I didn’t really feel affected by the wind,” Ricciardo said.

“(In Austria) the car felt like there was massive turbulence during the race, in terms of the way it was handling, and the high-speed was very light.

“So I feel something still wasn’t quite right on the car.

“What that is, we still don’t know, but I’d like to believe we’re going to find something because right now it doesn’t add up.

“For now, I remain optimistic that I’ll be like ‘that was what was wrong’, and then we’ll be in Silverstone laughing.”

The 30-year-old’s complaints were mirrored by those of Hulkenberg, the pair trailing home a lap down in 12th and 13th respectively.

Rubbing salt into the wound was the fact Alfa Romeo got both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi into the points for the first time in 2019.

It’s closed the battle in the constructors’ championship up, while McLaren’s own double points finish has also boosted its tally.

Renault currently lies fifth, 20 points adrift of McLaren and only 10 clear of Alfa Romeo.

“The conclusion is that nothing really worked,” Hulkenberg said of his Austrian Grand Prix performance.

“Some very strange issues, a very square kind of braking which was difficult to control the car at times.

“Also driving in a straight line, the front felt very light and it was getting pushed around as if you were in tow behind another car.

“It was certainly not easy today, the Alfas in the points were not very far ahead of us but following another car was very tough in those fast corners. We didn’t have enough pace to get by.”

Following the Monaco Grand Prix it looked as though Renault had put its tough start to the year behind it.

Having had just two points finishes in the opening five races of the year, from Monaco the team banked four points paying results in three events.

That included a double points finish in Canada, where Ricciardo qualified on the second row and battled (briefly) with Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

It would have been another double points payday at the French Grand Prix too but for two last lap penalties for Ricciardo which dropped the Aussie to 11th.

Then came Austria, where the team’s performance looked to revert to the level it operated at in the opening sequence of races,┬áleaving Hulkenberg scratching his head.

“Austria is a very particular circuit and in the last few years at Renault we’ve never had a great experience,” he admitted.

“So I kind of hope it’s more track-specific.

“But let’s hope we can use that next week, take a deep dive into the data, take a look at things and see what’s going on.”

Silverstone hosts the British Grand Prix, at this stage for the final time, on July 12-14.

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