Daniel Ricciardo admits it is unlikely that Renault can overcome McLaren in the battle to lead Formula 1’s midfield pack this season.

McLaren has enjoyed a resurgence in form in 2019 and has continued to out-develop and out-perform the French manufacturer as the year has progressed.

The Woking squad holds a 38-point cushion over its engine supplier with just three races remaining in the season, and Ricciardo believes a turnaround for Renault to claim fourth spot in the constructors’ championship is unrealistic.

“They have been a target for us this year, but now that we are pretty much at the end of the year, we have to accept that they have been better than us this year,” Ricciardo conceded.

“More times than not they are going to be faster than us. It is just how it is.

“To be disappointed that they are in front now does not make sense anymore because we have to accept that at the moment they are in front. So being behind them is the best I can do.

“We are not going to give up but looking ahead to next year hopefully we can bring them back towards us.

“They have made gains on the front of the field so ideally; we make gains on the front with them as opposed to them falling back to us.”

The McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris locked out the fourth row of the grid at COTA in qualifying, while Ricciardo starts Sunday’s race in Austin as the lead Renault driver in ninth, some six-tenths adrift.

 

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