An inability to maintain tyre temperature in the second half of the Portuguese Grand Prix hampered Daniel Ricciardo’s progress.
The Australian finished the race in ninth place, a one spot improvement from his grid slot but one behind team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Ricciardo started the race on soft compound tyres before switching to mediums at his sole stop on Lap 15.
That dropped him to 19th on the road, and though he rose through the field as others stopped, he was ultimately unable to make serious inroads.
“It was difficult. I don’t think (I) had the pace today,” he admitted to Sky Sports.
“The soft (tyre), pitted quite early, the front left was graining pretty heavily and I was just struggling with that first stint.
“So was a bit helpless with that one and we jumped on the mediums, but then the medium I struggled just to actually keep the temperature in the tyre.”
For most, the medium compound tyre was the preferred option, with Ocon taking his set to Lap 54 of 66 before stopping.
But while Ocon was able to unlock the potential of the tyres and maximise their life, Ricciardo struggled to do the same.
“I was always on the edge of temperature and trying to push a bit harder to get the temperature up and then you make a mistake because the grip’s not there,” he explained.
Despite his own performance, and with Ocon one spot up the road, Renault banked six points in the constructors’ championship.
Renault is one of three teams locked in a tight battle for third in the constructors’ title fight, with just six points covering it, McLaren and Racing Point.
F1 now heads to Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend, the first time the sport has visited the venue since 2006.
The event will be run to a condensed, two-day format instead of the usual three, with reduced practice ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
“I think definitely in Imola we’re going to face, I guess, different obstacles,” Ricciardo suggested.
“We can definitely still learn from this, and Esteban, his first stint obviously we started different tyre but his medium was able to go long and from what I believe kept a good pace on that tyre, so I think even with him we could learn something.
“I think we’re going to get a cold weekend in Imola as well,” he added.
“It’s obviously getting to November now and we’re in Europe still, so maybe some things can still assist us, what we learned today, for next week.”
Ricciardo remains fourth in the drivers’ championship on 80 points, five clear of Charles Leclerc but less than half the tally of Max Verstappen in third.