Renault Team Principal, Cyril Abiteboul described the Eifel Grand Prix as ‘a moment that matters in the life of the team” after Daniel Ricciardo bagged the team their first podium in nine years.
Ricciardo began the race in sixth but early moves on Albon then Leclerc put Ricciardo in the podium positions once everyone completed their stops whilst benefitting from a power failure for Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to eventually finish third, thereby claiming his first podium since he won the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix for Red Bull under Renault power.
Speaking post race on his first podium in 47 races, Ricciardo described the feeling as “… like the first time I ever got a podium.”
Ricciardo then spoke of the typical post-race podium rituals which a driver receives post-race, saying; “These emotions and that feeling you get when you get out the car, hug the team, the mechanics slapping you on the helmet, it’s just amazing and I am so happy we did it!”
The Aussie then admitted that he had a feeling that a podium was slowly “… coming with our performances in recent races,” after gaining four top six finishes prior to this race which he described as “pretty tight” despite stopping twice including under a late Safety Car after McLaren’s Lando Norris retired with power failure.
That particular feeling was shared by Abiteboul who also saw “it coming for some time…” whilst admitting that “We have had the potential to be there and today we had the right circumstances.”
Abiteboul however is confident that Ricciardo’s podium shows that the Renault car “… is a good all-rounder and when this type of opportunity comes we have the right team to capitalise.”
On the small matter of that tattoo bet following Ricciardo achieving that first podium of his Renault stint, Abiteboul was rather nervous, saying; “Daniel drove a great race and fully deserved this – we will have to see about that bet now!”
This race however is “bittersweet” in Abiteboul’s view after Esteban Ocon retired on lap 23 with a hydraulic issue, given the possibility of a huge points haul if he had finished the race, saying; “Without it we could have got a huge points result, which is very important as reliability is what will eventually define the championship in Abu Dhabi.”
Ocon had thoughts along those lines when talking about his race, believing that his race was “looking decent…” and could of had a “top five finish.”
On discovering that he had suffered a hydraulic issue, Ocon said; “I basically lost steering, brakes and gears and it’s a hydraulic issue, which we’ll investigate.”
In the meantime, Abiteboul feels that the team need to saviour this moment which marks their first podium since Nick Heidfeld finished third at 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix, saying; “… we need to celebrate and enjoy this moment as it is a moment that matters in the life of the team.”