Daniel Ricciardo says Renault’s 2019 Formula 1 car is not “a million miles off”, though he concedes a number of improvements can still be made. 

Renault had high expectations for this season after claiming it had made significant engine gains and having prised Ricciardo from rivals Red Bull to partner team regular Nico Hulkenberg

But while the French manufacturer has shown some glimpses of its potential, it currently sits just seventh in the constructors’ championship after a difficult start to the campaign. 

F1 Driver Ratings - Bahrain Grand Prix

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Hulkenberg scored a strong seventh place in Australia and was running as high as sixth in Bahrain on a recovery drive through the field following his shock Q1 exit, before Renault suffered simultaneous car failures which led to a double retirement late on, with Ricciardo also inside the top ten. 

“It is early days but so far the power unit has come not a long way, but it is definitely improved - so that is one big aspect,” Ricciardo said.

“The chassis itself, I was kind of warned a bit prior to driving the car that it did suffer a bit with ride and bumps and curbs - for sure it is an area that can be improved but I don’t think it is a million miles off. 

“Already by the sounds of it it is quite a bit better from what it was last year, from what Nico says.”

Ricciardo, who admitted he has been overdriving in his attempts to adapt to Renault’s challenger following his Red Bull switch, hopes some upcoming development updates will go some way in improving handing and stability issues. 

“A few upgrades, developments that we will have, one probably in China and maybe another in the next few races, that as well will help bring the car closer,” Ricciardo explained. 

“Just like some handling weaknesses of it, these things that we will eventually put on the car will help these areas, entry stability and these things. 

“That is where lap time is in F1, the rear grip, the to carry the speed in, and that is where for the most part of me driving this car so far, I’m carrying that speed in hoping and expecting that the grip is there and ability then it is not, and I am losing my exits. 

“So there are some areas which could help that which we should get soon. I’m optimistic, there is a lot of room for growth.”

 

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