Renault DP World F1 Team collected 12 points from an unpredictable and incident-filled Italian Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo sixth and Esteban Ocon eighth in Monza.
A safety car and red flag were amongst the major incidents in the frenetic 52-lap race, which completely transformed the flow, and the order, of the Grand Prix.
Both drivers made bright starts with Daniel passing Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen on lap 1 to hold fifth, and Esteban up three places from twelfth to ninth.
A bizarre situation, which led to the safety car being deployed but the pit lane closed, completely changed the leaderboard. Both drivers pitted on lap 22 for Mediums, but a red flag laps later meant other cars who had not pitted gained a number of places.
At the restart, Daniel was ninth and Esteban twelfth, with both cars enjoying strong starts from the reformed grid; Esteban gaining two places to tenth. Drive through penalties for cars ahead meant both drivers gained places with Daniel up to sixth towards the closing stages. Esteban progressed to seventh before being passed by Lewis Hamilton on the last lap to finish eighth.
Daniel Ricciardo, started P7, finished P6:
“That was a crazy race. It reminded me of Baku in 2017 with a similar, tense feeling and it being very unpredictable. Congratulations to Pierre [Gasly] for his first win. I know the feeling from winning for the first time and it’s crazy. Sixth isn’t bad for us today, I felt I couldn’t have done anymore in the situation. We weren’t the only ones, but the safety car and red flag did not go our way today. After a good start and good pace, the timing wasn’t on our side, but that’s something we can’t change. I’m happy with how it went today, we had a great start, good pace and we move onto next weekend.”
Esteban Ocon, started P12, finished P8:
“I have mixed feelings today as we had a good race on track and took some solid points, but also it was one of those races when you see the podium and wonder what could have been. We didn’t have luck on our side with the pit-stop before the red flag and that meant a free stop for the others. The race was strong, I passed three cars at the start and had good race pace to be competitive inside the points. It’s strange as I passed Gasly at the start and he won the race! We probably didn’t match our expectations on the pace we thought we would have in Spa, but it was still a good effort.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal:
“After the good showing in Spa, and the planned announcement of the rebranding to Alpine F1 Team starting next year, there certainly was added pressure and expectation on the team this weekend. We also knew coming here, there were two big unknowns: firstly, the effects of the track characteristics on our car, which were clearly not as favourable as in Spa, with more lap-time spent in high speed corners, and secondly, the new technical directive on engine modes. If its impact on qualifying is not very clear yet, today’s race shows the field remains more bunched up and more competitive, which will make racing more exciting. After an excellent start from both cars with Daniel overtaking Valtteri Bottas and keeping him behind and Esteban overtaking a number of cars on the opening laps, the various race incidents compromised our track position and meant we eventually had to settle for sixth and eighth. This is frustrating for the entire team, but we should not hide behind things we cannot control. Clearly, this weekend, our car is not as strong as McLaren who were further ahead in similar circumstances. Nevertheless, it’s good to see four Renault engines in the top eight positions at a very demanding track like Monza. Overall, we scored decent points and that allows us to take fifth in the championship, while remaining in sight of the teams ahead.”