Daniel Ricciardo says he is “really encouraged” by Renault’s performance at the United States Grand Prix as he finished as the top midfield runner.

Despite ending up around six-tenths behind both McLaren drivers in qualifying, Ricciardo and Renault turned the tables on its closest midfield rival in the race to claim a ‘best of the rest’ sixth place ahead of Lando Norris

Ricciardo had already conceded earlier in the Austin weekend that McLaren was now out of reach in the battle for fourth spot in the constructors’ championship. The French manufacturer trails its customer team by 38 points with just two races remaining.

“The start was fun and the first lap was cool,” Ricciardo said.

"I went back and forth a bit with Lando. Initially got him, he got me back and then I got him a few laps later.

“Then he could see that his one stop was not going to work behind me, so they called him in for a two-stopper.

“Actually just before that [Alexander] Albon had boxed for a two and I know that he has more pace with the Red Bull but he came back through us so quickly.

"So when I knew that Lando had pitted for a two stop, I feared that the last few laps of the race were going to be not too fun. He got on my gearbox in the last corner. But we held him off.

“One more lap and the two stop had us. It was nice to be sixth and beat them and get more points. Two good weekends in a row now, it is nice.”

Asked if he finds Renault’s strong showing encouraging, Ricciardo replied: “It is. We know a few reasons why. Even Friday I was not strong on the long runs.

“So to come out here and be the best of the rest and to beat the McLarens, even when I think the two stop was the faster race in the end, that is really encouraging.

“So we will try and figure out why, how, but we will take it and go and enjoy it tonight.”

 

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