Daniel Ricciardo was holding third position entering the final stages of a highly unpredictable Tuscan GP – the first to be held on the ‘old school’ Mugello circuit (13 Sept).
Ricciardo’s result was no fluke, his Renault DP World F1 Team R.S.20 machine performing better than expected around Mugello’s fast swoops.
A clever tactic and some speedy skills by the Renault crew meant Ricciardo emerged in third ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll after the final round of pit stops for fresh tyres.
This became second when the race was re-started for a second time, Ricciardo’s R.S.20 powering superbly away from the line to pass Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes into the first bend.
Bottas was able to regain the position soon after, putting Ricciardo back into third spot. Agonisingly, with just nine laps to go, he also fell behind Alex Albon’s Red Bull so had to settle for fourth.
At just 2.3 seconds away from the third, it was the closest Renault has been to a podium result in F1 since Malaysia 2011…
The result was the third fourth position Ricciardo has achieved in 2020, with others at Silverstone in July and more recently, the mighty Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium where the R.S.20 design and E-TECH hybrid engine again proved rapid on the long straights.
Indeed, Spa brought Renault it's biggest points haul in a single race so far this season as Ricciardo’s team-mate Esteban Ocon crossed the line right behind him in fifth for a total of 23. Ricciardo also set the race’s fastest lap for a bonus point. The team’s result was dedicated to Renault Sport Academy driver Anthoine Hubert who died as a result of an accident during a Formula 2 race at the corresponding event in 2019…
Sixth and eighth for the pair (12 points combined) followed in the Italian GP at Monza. Ocon would surely have been close to Ricciardo at Mugello, further boosting the team’s tally but had to retire with a break problem on his car.
Heading to the next races at Sochi, Russia (27 Sept) and Nürburgring, Germany (11 October), Renault is very much in the fight for third in F1’s Constructors’ table, fifth overall but just 23 points adrift of customer engine team McLaren which currently holds the position.