Ricciardo: No ‘grip to push’ led to damage limitation in Portugal
Daniel Ricciardo says he was challenged to put his tyres within their operating window in the Portuguese GP, an issue that led to a damage limitation race for Renault in its battle for third in the Constructors’ championship.
Ricciardo was hard pressed to make any progress from 10th on the grid during the 66-lap race.
The Aussie’s efforts were hampered early on by graining on the soft tyres and then further complicated by a long stint on the medium compound during which he struggled with temperatures.
The difficult race nevertheless yielded a P9 finish for the outgoing Renault driver, one spot behind teammate Esteban Ocon who fared better on an opposite medium-to-soft strategy.
The combined result allowed Renault to hold its own in the fierce battle for third in the Constructors’ championship against midfield rivals Racing Point and McLaren, with the trio separated by just six points.
“It was a bit of damage limitation,” said Ricciardo. “From a constructors’ point of view I think McLaren gained points on us, and we kept a tie with Racing Point, which is important on a difficult race.
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“I had graining on the soft tyres, so we did not have enough aero balance on the car and killed the front quite quickly. On the medium it was a struggle to get the tyre working and to get it into the temperature.
“You would get the few drops of rain every now and then, so I felt I would get there and then the track would cool and I was just underneath the window. It was very tricky to push and to generate temperature.
“I did not have the grip to push. So a tricky one but we still got some points so not too bad.”
Read also: F1i’s Driver Ratings for the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
Renault’s first podium of the hybrid era at the Nürburgring – courtesy of Ricciardo – underscored the progress achieved by the Enstone squad’s R.S.20 at high downforce layouts.
But after Sunday’s race, Ricciardo noted that “maximum downforce” remains an area of weakness for the French team’s car.
“Our weakness still lies in that, in maximum downforce,” he said. “I do not know that everyone had it in the Nürburgring, so if everyone has put it on here, and onto that you have a lower track surface, so the downforce plays even a bigger part because the grip is low.
“Maybe that put us back to where we are with this style of wing. It is a slippery track. Nürburgring was cold but actually once the tyre was warm it was actually high grip. Whereas here it was never high.
“It was slippery all through the weekend. Even with low fuel and new tyres nothing was ever glued to the track. It exposed our weakness.”
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