Renault DP World F1 Team scored six points from the Heineken Portuguese Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon eighth and Daniel Ricciardo ninth at the first race in Portugal for 24 years.
The double points finish means the team moves onto 120 points to remain fifth in the Constructors’ Championship and six points from third place.
An action-packed race start saw Daniel move up to eighth after an early battle with the Red Bull of Alexander Albon, whilst Esteban was caught in a melee for the final points scoring position. As predicted, light rain was ever present during the race, but it was never heavy enough to alter proceedings. With grip levels consistently low, Daniel was the first to box with his Soft tyres wearing down rapidly forcing him to pit on lap 14 for fresh Mediums.
With Daniel dropping towards the rear of the field having pitted early, Esteban - on the alternate strategy - completed 53 laps on his Medium tyres and was the last to make a first stop. By the time of his stop, Daniel, had scythed his way through the field with others stopping and was safely inside the top ten and in a battle for eighth with Sebastian Vettel.
A slightly slow stop for Esteban meant he re-joined just ahead of his teammate, and despite having strong pace on the Softs for the final fifteen laps he was unable to make any major inroads on the cars ahead. Esteban crossed the finish line in eighth position, with Daniel just behind in ninth making it a double-points finish for the team.
Daniel Ricciardo, started P10, finished P9:
“It was a crazy start to the race, and we did manage to make up some places on the first lap moving up to eighth. Once it settled, we struggled for grip on the Softs and so we pitted quite early. We had the Mediums on for a lengthy spell, so we had to spend a lot of the second stint managing the tyres. I never really had the tyres in the right window so I couldn’t push too hard. Eighth and ninth for the team isn’t a bad result so I think we’ll take that from this weekend.”
Esteban Ocon, started P11, finished P8:
“That was a good race for me. It was very hard at the start being on the Mediums, but I kept calm and together with the team we managed it extremely well and made sure we remained competitive throughout. I completed 53 laps on them! They seemed to last a long time and my pace was strong even towards the end of the stint. It kept raining too in short spells, so we had to be mindful of that with the grip levels. In the end I think we did a good job to get both cars inside the top ten.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal:
“We came away from Germany with a great buzz after Daniel’s podium, it is therefore very disappointing to see that the car has struggled massively for grip all the way through the weekend. The team has managed to improve from a very poor start on Friday and eighth and ninth today is probably the best result we were realistically going to get starting from tenth and eleventh. What is interesting about today’s race is that we never managed to make the Softs work, but Esteban’s massive stint on the Mediums was extremely competitive. It is a clear demonstration that the weekend was dictated by the tyre performance: as we go towards the end of the season and we could experience similar circumstances in the next two races, we absolutely must understand what has hurt us if we are to finish strongly in the Constructors’ Championship. I am glad for Esteban as he made no mistakes in a tricky weekend and contributed to keeping the team in sight of our rivals.”