Daniel Ricciardo says holding off Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes for so long during the Canadian Grand Prix is evidence of Renault’s recent engine gains as it looks to close the deficit to the front-runners.

The Australian driver ended the race delighted with sixth place as ‘best of the rest’, while also beating his Red Bull replacement Pierre Gasly, having started an impressive fourth place on the grid in a qualifying shake-up.

Having pitted early for hard tyres, Ricciardo moved back ahead of Bottas once the Finn pitted at the end of Lap 29 and despite the Mercedes driver being on the fresher hard tyres, and with the boost of DRS, the Renault driver held position for eight laps before eventually conceding his place.

Consequently, Ricciardo saw the stint as evidence to Renault’s engine gains following a tough start to 2019 with ongoing reliability woes through MGU-K failures.

“With Bottas what it showed was that even though he had DRS we still had pretty good straight-line speed,” Ricciardo said. “I feel there we have bridged the gap a lot. So still a lot of work to do but it certainly is looking good.

“When he came up behind me, I thought he was going to get me easily. I was going to try and defend one lap but if he got me, I was not really going to fight to the edge.

“I held him off one lap and then saw in my mirrors that maybe he will start to hurt his tyres a bit, so from that point I was like let’s have some fun.

“I hurt my tyres a bit doing it, but it was worth it. I didn’t think I’d hold him off for that many laps. You could tell that he was getting a bit agitated. I was enjoying it.”

“I would have loved to have done it with Max as well but he was coming with too much pace at the end with that tyre, so he got me very easily.”

With Ricciardo leading home teammate Nico Hulkenberg to Renault’s first double points of the season, the French manufacturer has leapt up to fifth place in the Formula 1 world constructors’ standings and is now just two points behind McLaren.



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