Daniel Ricciardo is hopeful the disappointing run his Renault team has been on in recent races comes to an end at this weekend’s Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix.
The Australian raced to sixth last time out in Japan, putting in a series of passes late in the race after running an alternate strategy to team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
The double points-paying result for the Renault prompted Ricciardo to suggest it would provide a boost in confidence for the team, which has experienced inconsistent results since the summer break.
Heading into Mexico, a circuit Ricciardo claimed pole position at last year, the 30-year-old is targeting a Q3 berth and a result ahead of McLaren come Sunday.
“The pole position last year was pretty memorable. It was an exciting lap, putting it all together at the end; it was special,” he recalled.
“If we can get into Q3 and be first of the midfield this weekend then that will be pretty good too.
“We’ve been on a disappointing run recently so we deserved the result in Japan.
“We’re aiming to carry some momentum now in Mexico.
“The target is to better the McLarens and outscore them to keep the pressure on.”
Renault and McLaren, which buys its engines from the French marque, have been engaged in a season-long battle over fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Consistent scoring from Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris sees McLaren hold the advantage, with Renault’s double points finish in Japan closing the gap by only a single point.
There remains a 34 point deficit for Renault to close in four races, while Toro Rosso is only 18 points in arrears and Racing Point only a further five points further back.
It’s therefore important for the Anglo-French team to continue banking points, though the Mexican Grand Prix has not been the kindest to the squad.
Its best result in Mexico since the event rejoined the calendar in 2015 is a sixth, a result which came courtesy of Hulkenberg in 2018.
“It’s a tricky little circuit,” explained the German.
“It’s high altitude and that changes the racing dynamic quite a bit.
“The car has less downforce, a lot less drag, so we’re fast down the straights and then under braking the car feels like it has a lot less grip.
“It’s quite a unique feeling and one you have to get used to.
“It’s important we score well again in Mexico. We’re approaching the business end of the season and everything has to count.”
Practice for the Mexican Grand Prix begins at 0200 AEDT Saturday morning.