Daniel Ricciardo hopes he and Renault teammate Esteban Ocon can get ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez at the start of Bahrain Grand Prix with the two teams embroiled in a tight fight for third in the F1 constructors’ championship.

Ricciardo and Ocon are set to start Sunday’s race from sixth and seventh, just behind Perez in fifth.

The second Racing Point of Lance Stroll could only manage 13th in qualifying meaning it's a good opportunity for Renault to reduce the 18-point deficit to Racing Point.

After Perez showed great race pace in the long runs on Friday, Ricciardo says it’s crucial Renault get ahead on the opening lap.

“Perez just got us, but he’s there and obviously with Esteban right there as well, the perfect picture for us would be for us both to get him into turn one, hold firm and get some points back that we missed two weeks ago,” Ricciardo said.

“His [Perez] long runs are good, normally he’s been good at managing tyres, so we really have to put pressure on him and in a way try to bully him at the start and try to force his strategy a little bit.

“I think if he gets off in clear air he’ll be hard to beat. With both of us around him, hopefully, that’s enough to make a difference for the first few hundred metres.”

The Australian looked to be on the back foot going into Q3 but with just one set of fresh tyres available, he still managed to outqualify teammate Ocon yet again.

Reflecting on qualifying, Ricciardo added: “It’s what I do. It’s Q3. It’s really what it’s all about! I’m taking the piss. I wasn’t really holding back, just feel like when I need to find a bit more I do. Q1 I had to use two sets as the first lap was pretty poor so it left me a bit hands tied for Q3 with only one new set.

“But yeah, seem to have made tat one work, it was alright, maybe with two sets Perez could have been a more attainable target but I’m happy with a top six. I told one of the guys before quali that it would have been good enough for top six so made them happy.”

With the gap between the Renault pair just 0.002s in qualifying, Ocon joked Ricciardo is “blessed”.

“The car felt awesome today, it was a great lap coming around, Daniel is 0.002s ahead of me, he’s blessed,” Ocon said. “When it’s close it’s always in his favour so I have 2 more races to turn that around! It was good to produce a good session, well managed by the team, we got through Q1 with only one set, we then got to q2 and managed to qualify in top 10 with mediums, a good start tyre for tomorrow.

“Everything went well, it’s a track that I like, that I really enjoy, to have 2 cars in the top 10, and our rivals have only one, it’s a good thing, but it’s not done yet.”

 

 

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