Canadian GP: Daniel Ricciardo on his growing confidence in Renault's car
Australian driver on adapting to Renault's 2019 car and why Canada will be the first big 'test' of their engine's performance
By James Galloway in Montreal
Last Updated: 06/06/19 9:10pm
Daniel Ricciardo believes he has made a breakthrough with Renault's F1 car, as the team now look to take their own step forward in forthcoming races.
Ricciardo comes into this weekend's Canadian GP - the scene of his maiden F1 victory five years ago - on the back of an encouraging Monaco, when he qualified in the top seven for the first time with Renault and finished in the points.
"In winter testing I thought that I got up to speed well, and that was that, but getting that last five per cent, that was going to take time," the Australian told reporters.
"But I'd like to say I'm in that window now, whereas I wasn't in the first few weekends."
After five seasons racing for Red Bull, Ricciardo admits that he has had to steadily adapt his driving style to a completely different car.
"Now I'm actually comfortable and I'm already starting to drive a little differently compared to what I was [doing] last year in some areas," explained the Australian.
"Even the way you brake into a corner or the way you pick up the throttle based on the characteristics [of the car], I feel I've already adopted new habits. Now it does [feel natural]."
Underlining his progress, Ricciardo has not been outqualifed by team-mate Nico Hulkenberg since the season-opener in Australia.
"Nico came out strong at the start of the season and outqualified me in the first race," said Ricciardo. "He only had one run in Q2 and I had two chances and didn't get him. But since then I've been able to put it together."
Canada a 'test' for Renault's engine
Having set the target on the eve of the campaign of closing the gap to F1's leading three teams, Renault's start to 2019 has been beset by disappointments with the works team only eighth in the standings after six rounds.
But with their engine now again able to run at full power after reliability improvements, Ricciardo says Montreal's high-speed track will be the package's biggest test yet in F1's competitive power stakes.
"This will certainly be a good test for it. We know we have definitely made progress through the year," said Ricciardo.
"We were encouraged by Monaco and even Barcelona, but this will be the best test yet. I'm confident we will be alright, but what does 'alright' mean? Obviously a Q3 car, but we'll see how that goes."
He added: "I don't know whether we're going to push it more than we did in Monaco, but already having the reliability in a better place we've already been able to squeeze a bit more out of it."
When's the Canadian GP on Sky?
When, where and how to watch the Canadian GP from Montreal live only on Sky Sports F1 as Hamilton bids to extend his title lead.
Renault confirmed recently that the French GP in a fortnight's time will be the venue for their next big car upgrade.
Speaking about his current mood, Ricciardo said: "I'm motivated - I'm very, very motivated. I want to get back on the podium.
"I know we're still not there but if I keep this level of drive and hunger then it's just going to come sooner rather than later."
Sky Sports F1 is the home of live and exclusive F1. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live