Daniel Ricciardo reserved special praise for Renault’s engine department after heading the team’s best result since their full return to F1 at high-speed Monza.
Ricciardo claimed his highest finish since joining the team, fourth, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg matched his best finish for Renault with fifth after an Italian GP weekend in which their car consistently ran in the top six.
The result represented the highest two-car finish for a works Renault squad since the 2008 Japanese GP, when Fernando Alonso won the race and Nelson Piquet Jr finished fourth.
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Ricciardo, who also ran Renault power for five years at Red Bull before joining the Enstone team at the start of the year, said the manufacturer’s often-criticised engine operation particularly deserved the success.
“Obviously I’m happy for the whole team, but I want to give a special shout out to the boys in Viry building the engines,” said Ricciardo to Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok.
“To get the best team result, here in Monza on a power circuit, since 2008 is a real statement. They copped a lot of grief over the last few years and they have made some big gains this year on the power unit. This one’s for them.”
The large 22-point haul from Monza may also serve to kick-start what up to then had been an underwhelming season. Renault have moved ahead of Toro Rosso into fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship and closed to within 18 points of McLaren in fourth.
“Since Canada we hadn’t really got the maximum result out of it,” said Ricciardo, who ended a three-race run without points.
“I really believe we were a fourth-placed car today. Seb (Vettel) gave us a bit of a help, but once we were in fourth I definitely feel we had that pace.”
Asked if they can now maintain such a level of performance, Ricciardo replied: “I really wish we can and hope we can.
“We are coming up to different circuits – high-downforce Singapore, street circuit, bumpy – but even though this is Monza and it’s unique and you take all the wing off, I definitely think there’s something we can still learn from this.”
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul described the weekend as “a demonstration after Montreal and Spa the clear progress of the team and in particular on the power unit side that has been so openly criticised in the past”.
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