Daniel Ricciardo has secured his best ever finish for Renault, crossing the line in fourth during a strong weekend for the French factory team at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Renault was quick across all three days at the power-hungry circuit, with Ricciardo and teammate Nico Hulkenberg qualifying in fifth and sixth behind the two Mercedes and Ferraris, before both improved one spot in Sunday’s race.
It was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the ultimate winner at Monza – back-to-back wins proving he has future champion credentials. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished in second and third respectively.
Sebastian Vettel had a day to forget, running in fourth when he made a mistake and spun on lap six, with a resultant re-join of track just as disastrous – pulling out in front of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and damaging both cars.
Vettel’s misfortune was perfect for Ricciardo, who took advantage of the opportunity to push for a podium.
For the Renault driver and CAMS Ambassador, the result was vindication for the team’s ongoing hard work.
“I want to give a special shout-out – obviously I’m happy for the whole team – but to the boys in Viry (France), building the engines,” Ricciardo said.
“I think to get the best team result here in Monza on a power circuit since 2008 is a real statement. They’ve copped a lot of grief in the last few years and they’ve made some big gains this year on the power unit, so this one’s for them.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Ricciardo’s 2019 Monza efforts also go down as his best result at the track – and for Renault, their best result since returning to Formula 1 in 2016.
“To get the team’s best result in fourth and fifth at a power circuit really complements Renault and their hard work,” Ricciardo added.
“The race pace was really good and it’s a nice reward for the team. The result is long overdue this year; I’m very satisfied now.”
Meanwhile, Leclerc was understandably delighted with the win at a Grand Prix filled with Ferrari fans in every grandstand.
“There are no words to describe the emotions I felt during the race, after the race, or on the podium. It felt ten times stronger than anything I have ever experienced in my whole career. It was very special,” Leclerc said.
“When I arrive at a race weekend, I usually don’t think about winning, I just try to do the best job possible and tell myself that the results will come.
“But to be honest, seeing all of the support from our Tifosi here in Monza this weekend, the only thing I could think of was winning and that’s what we did, so I am very happy.”
After back-to-back race weekends, teams now enjoy a fortnight’s break, with racing to resume at the iconic Singapore Grand Prix on 20-22 September.