Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to the pressure on Renault to stave off Toro Rosso and seal fifth in the constructors’ championship in this weekend’s Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi.
The Renault F1 Team has amassed 91 points with one round remaining while Scuderia Toro Rosso’s haul shot up to 83 with Pierre Gasly’s second place last time out in Brazil.
Ricciardo took an eventful sixth at Interlagos, his third straight points finish, but Renault engine customer McLaren moved out of sight in fourth position in the constructors’ standings on 140 points.
“It would be nice to continue the momentum we’ve had during the last part of the season through to the end and secure another points finish,” said the West Australian.
“Abu Dhabi has always been a pretty good track for me and it’s an enjoyable race, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on track to end the season on a high.
“We have a bit of pressure on us in the race for fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, but it means we have something to fight for and I like that feeling.”
Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul is of a similar mind ahead of the last grand prix of 2019 at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“The last race of the season is a time for us to reflect on a difficult 2019,” he said.
“We have had high points: a double score in Italy and strong results in Mexico, USA and Brazil, but a disappointing start of the season marked by many issues where we have had to dig deep and discover new resourcefulness.
“We enter the final race in Abu Dhabi with the pressure still firmly on. Fifth place is up for grabs in the Constructors’ Championship and we face stiff competition to maintain our current position.
“We’re confident in our ability to deliver the results we need over the weekend, but we have learned that the field is close and races are very open.”
Ricciardo himself holds ninth in the drivers’ championship after 20 races.
Coincidentally, he also faces a situation where he cannot improve his position but has an eight-point advantage over his nearest rival, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, to protect.
Practice 1 in Abu Dhabi, where outgoing Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg is likely to start his final F1 round for at least the time being, starts on Friday at 2000 AEDT.