Chinese Grand Prix – Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says that his new 2019 car is clearly a quick one, but that he is yet to fully release its full potential.
Ricciardo hasn’t had a particularly strong start to his 2019 season, after swapping from Red Bull Racing to Renault. A steady qualifying session in Australia was followed by a Lap 1 mistake that resulted in car damage and eventual retirement from the race. Bahrain was a weekend where Nico Hulkenberg very clearly had the upper hand in terms of pace throughout the event, and was leading Ricciardo on track in the closing stages when both cars retired with technical issues.
Ricciardo has admitted that he is yet to feel fully comfortable behind the wheel of the Renault RS19, but that it’s slowly starting to come to him: “I’m certainly getting there in terms of extracting the maximum and getting more comfortable. These things do take time, but it’s good to iron out these details going forward. We’ll get there soon and sure enough and I’m confident we’re heading in the right direction.”
“We showed signs of that over the race weekend, going from a struggle on Friday, followed by an improvement on Saturday to being in and amongst it on Sunday. The car clearly has pace, but for me, it’s about finding all of it. I feel there’s a lot more to come.”
Ricciardo heads to China as the defending winner of the race, having won a thrilling battle in last year’s Grand Prix. A Safety Car allowed him to use an aggressive late tyre stop to fight his way through the frontrunners, and he overtook Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to take the lead and the win. He said it was one of his proudest moments in racing so far: “Up until last year, China was a circuit I always seemed to go really well at but without taking a podium. I knew I was due a podium in China and last season that came alive. It was a really good win, coming from sixth on the grid. I probably made one of the overtakes of the year on Valtteri [Bottas] into the tight Turn 6, so that made it even sweeter!”