Daniel Ricciardo believes that, with the level of car and engine Renault have, the fact that both he and Nico Hulkenberg both failed to reach the points positions in the Spanish Grand Prix is an underachievement for the team.
The Australian qualified in 10th place in Barcelona, but was demoted to 13th due to a penalty earned after reversing to Daniil Kvyat in Baku. He found himself behind Carlos Sainz of McLaren for a lot of the race, and didn’t make much of an impact into the top 10, while Hulkenberg did well after starting from the pitlane only to also fail to win points.
Ricciardo thinks both Renaults should have been higher, and points to the tyre strategy as a potential reason for the failure.
“I'm frustrated, to be honest, with that,” he admitted
“I see Carlos was eighth, we had him at the end of the first stint and then we fitted a Hard, he fitted a Medium and he passed us on the outlap. And obviously, look at where he finished and where he did with his pace.
“To be honest I think we underachieved with the result that the car is capable of. It's just little things, and this midfield is so tight, a small lack of perfection and we potentially miss four points.
“We've just got to try and do better, I guess, try and figure out what we can execute and understand, why we fitted the hard instead of the medium, and if that was us being too cautious then let's not be cautious.”
Hulkenberg was on a one-stop strategy while Ricciardo was on two, and when the latter came out from the pits the second time he was stuck behind his team-mate on older tyres, meaning couldn’t get by. The former Red Bull man thinks this could have been better, strategically.
“I think where we missed out was the restart, we lost track position again [by] pitting, and then we fell behind Nico and he was on a used tyre - I was on a new - and I think we had a chance on that first lap to attack the guys in front,” he explained.
“We were told we were able to fight, but yeah, I couldn't really see him advancing with that tyre as I could with mine. Again we'll see now, sort it out if strategically we could have maximised one car over the other.”
After five races, Renault are eighth in the constructor’s championship.