Daniel Ricciardo didn’t like requesting for team orders in F1 Japanese GP but it eventually worked for Renault after a downbeat qualifying.
As was the case with few other teams, ‘Super Sunday’ in F1 Japanese GP at Suzuka was tough on Renault for one part but it proved to be worth it in the end, with a double points finish after team orders towards in favour of Ricciardo in the latter half of the grand prix.
Ricciardo had a tough start in qualifying after a rear suspension issue squashed any hope of a high starting position than 16th. He gained positions off the line before losing an equal number of positions at the Esses, which left him in 16th where he started.
But post that, it was a huge comeback inside the Top 10, aided by a smart strategy and team orders. Ricciardo did not wished to request but he felt he could overtake the cars ahead and so Nico Hulkenberg obliged, which worked well.
“It was fun as it always great to come through the field,” said Ricciardo to the media. “Other than winning, that’s the best thing you can have, when you are constantly attacking and moving forward. We had a problem with the rear suspension in qualifying.
“So, it wasn’t representative and it was frustrating to be back of the grid. Did I think, I would come up to seventh [which became sixth]? No. It was fun coming through. The strategy of going medium-soft, allowed me to attack late in the race.
“I called on the radio after seeing Nico in the DRS of Stroll for few laps and not able to pass. I don’t normally like to ask but I had more speed, so I said release me and I can get Stroll and Gasly. In the end we got them quite easily.
“It was the right call and both cars in the points.” As mentioned, Ricciardo finished seventh on the road but was promptly promoted to sixth post-race, after the FIA inflicted a double-penalty on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, which dropped him to seventh.
In the other Renault, Hulkenberg faced similar adversity in qualifying, starting just one position ahead of his teammate. He ran well in the race but was ultimately compromised by excessive traffic and degrading tyres to be 10th after helping Ricciardo.
“It was busy as we were fighting a lot,” he said. “But, being in traffic for most of the second stint was a bit of a struggle there. All in all, I think it was a very good race. We had a very difficult morning in qualifying with all sorts of problems, but a very nice recovery.
“I am very happy that we can reward ourselves with a double points finish. Personally, I had a really good start, and an amazing first lap. I think I went from 15th to 10th or something, so that was enjoyable, and, it was good, I’m pleased.”
Despite the points haul, Renault is still 34 points McLaren with only four races remaining. On top of that, the manufacturer faces a big case that Racing Point registered against it after the end of the Japanese GP regarding the ‘brake bias system’.
Racing Point’s 12-page dossier alleges that Renault is using automatic brake system – in simple terms – which is helping them in corners. The FIA agreed to hear the case after the initial meeting and if there is genuine proof, it will report it to the stewards then.
Here’s how the F1 Japanese GP panned out
Sebastian Vettel on his mistake and FIA’s clarification
Valtteri Bottas admits about concerns he had of Lewis Hamilton not pitting
Robert Kubica felt let down by Williams in Japanese GP
Charles Leclerc accepted blame for Turn 2 incident
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton dedicate title to Niki Lauda
Sergio Perez feels he left enough space for Pierre Gasly in their clash
Alexander Albon says Lando Norris left the door open for the move
The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani