Satisfaction in the clan Renault F1 Team. By placing his car at the finish in front of the two McLarens who use the Viry-Châtillon client power unit and had gone higher than him on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo signed a beautiful sixth place, synonymous with eight points for the French-English team. The Australian race, which even had the opportunity to overtake Vettel early in the race, was deserving, after having resisted Lando Norris, launched on a more offensive strategy with two stops, and having finished only a few meters from the Renault on arrival.
The Yellow also completes their Sunday harvest in Austin with the two ninth-place units of Nico Hulkenberg. With this record, Renault is giving a little air in the Constructors World Championship to secure fifth place at the end of the season, and now has 18 points ahead of Racing Point and 19 on Toro Rosso, while Ricciardo is replace eighth driver side.
Daniel, it was a nice comeback, with some positions won on the track and a start that looked fun?
The start was fun, yes, the first lap was cool! We had back and forth with Lando [Norris]: I initially got it, but he got me again and I went back a few laps later, so it was nice. I think he knew that his one stop was not going to work behind me and they called him for a second just before Albon came in for his second too. I then saw that he had more rhythm with the Red Bull: he was coming up so fast on us that I feared at that moment that as Lando stopped a second time, the last laps of the race be not so pleasant! But he found himself in my gearbox in the last corner and we held up. But yes, I think that with one more turn, the two stops would have been right of us. It's great to be sixth and beat them and take more points. That's two good consecutive weekends now, and it's nice.
How is the pace of the race encouraging? Speed in qualifying is average but the pace of the race seems to be much better …
Yes, it was. I think we know a few reasons but all the same, Friday, in my opinion, the pace was not so good on the long relay. So coming out today [Sunday] as "best of the rest" and beating the McLarens despite the fact that two stops were faster is really very encouraging. We will try to understand why and how, and we take it for the moment and will enjoy the evening!
Do you think the team is a little more skillful now and knows better how to extract the best of the car, or has it progressed and been made more consistent recently?
I would say that on a lap, I feel that by looking at the McLaren's onboard cameras, they seem to be able to more easily extract a lap time. It seems that the window is a little wider for them and that is why we are not always able to extract the best of ours in qualifications. To make it short, I would say it's easier for us to make a mistake or not to have the adjustment at the top. But then, on the run, once everything is relaxing on the pace and you're no longer at the limit on the tire throughout the race, that's where we're able to naturally extend the window to a [good] rhythm. I think that's why we're able to come back a little bit on them.
We could see one of your beautiful late braking to overtake Lando [Norris]; we have not seen that much this year. You must have appreciated that!
Ah yes ! I was not sure that television had captured this moment but yes! There have been a couple of times last year [in this situation] I would have gone. There were a few laps during which I asked myself, which, let's say, is not really my usual style! But I guess after last week when I ruined my tire with Perez, it was probably worth thinking a little more. But yes, then I was a little heavy [the foot] and it was pretty clean, in the end. So yes, it was a good feeling!