Renault DP World F1 Team scored its third podium of the season at the Sakhir Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon finishing second to claim his best result in Formula 1. Daniel Ricciardo rounded off a fantastic Sunday with fifth place. The team remain fifth in the Constructors’ Championship on 172 points heading into the final race next weekend in Abu Dhabi.
An action-packed race saw both cars start well with Daniel moving up to fourth and Esteban eighth after a first lap collision at turn four. The first stint was largely dictated by a DRS train and saw little action. Daniel boxed on lap 30 switching to the Harder compound tyres and lost out one place to Kvyat due to the undercut.
Esteban stayed out committing to a one stop strategy and didn’t box for another 12 laps switching to Hard tyres. A fantastic pitstop put him in range of Stroll in ninth place with the Frenchman swooping past into turn four. Daniel then boxed again for his final stop on lap 56 re-joining the track in eighth, whilst Esteban capitalised on others pitting around him and moved into fourth.
A few laps later a Safety Car was brought out for a dislodged front wing on the main straight, and a slow pitstop from Bottas meant Esteban moved into second. He was quickly overtaken by Russell after the Safety Car restart, but the Mercedes was forced to pit again after fitting the wrong tyres during his stop. To add to his woes, Russell suffered a tyre puncture just laps later pushing Esteban back into second for the final stages of the race. The Frenchman held firm against Stroll to cap a stunning drive and mark his best result in Formula 1 whilst Daniel came home in fifth.
Daniel Ricciardo, started P7, finished P5:
“It’s an amazing result for the team and congratulations to Esteban for getting his first ever podium, it was a really strong race by him and his side of the garage. For me it was slightly disappointing as we could have done even better than fifth. I was happy with my start and I felt like there was a lot of opportunity being in fourth after lap one. We then boxed and lost ground to Kvyat and stayed behind him for a while. We managed to get back ahead after the second stop but there wasn’t much I could do in the DRS train. We go at it again next weekend and try finish the season strong.”
Esteban Ocon, started P11, finished P2:
“What a race! We made it, we’re on the podium and it’s a fantastic feeling. It was awesome and all the emotions left my body when I crossed the line. I definitely cried and I’m proud to say it. That moment, crossing the line, I’ll remember it forever. The team executed the race really well, we had strong pace, and I had some fun out there with some overtakes too. It’s been a tough season but we kept believing in ourselves and that’s rewarded with this amazing feeling. Keep believing and it will come at some point! We’ve progressed massively this year and next week it’s back to it to focus on ending the season as best as we can.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal:
“If a result like today is a team effort, it’s clearly one for Esteban. I am very, very happy for him that he can also experience for himself the good vibes that we’ve been having since the summer shutdown when the team’s progression has accelerated. We’ve had two podiums with Daniel and this time round it was with Esteban and we are all very grateful for that. His weekend was strong, the only challenging moment was in Q2 when we failed to progress into Q3. But that actually may have helped with the free starting tyre choice. From that point onwards, he drove a very strong race, managing to preserve the tyres at the start, be aggressive when it mattered and defending very well at the end against faster cars. There is a feeling that maybe we could have done a bit better with Daniel, which would have helped a bit our Constructors’ Championship situation. We’ll give our maximum in Abu Dhabi next weekend with the particular double thought and motivation of our last race with Daniel and as Renault F1 Team.”