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Styrian GP: Preview - Renault

NEWS STORY
09/07/2020

After showing promising pace throughout the weekend, Daniel has even more motivation when the racing returns in the Styrian hills.

How do you reflect on the first race weekend?
Daniel Ricciardo: We were all so excited to go racing again and it was so nice to be back out there battling for places. It was one of those races where it's about getting to the end, so who knows what we could have picked up. I think there were a lot of positives from the weekend, our qualifying pace was up there, and I know with a clean lap we could have been further up the grid. That's the goal for this weekend.

What are the targets for the next race?
DA: I think Friday practice could look different as we already know the tyres and all the little details about the circuit. We'll look to refine some key areas to make sure we're well prepared for both qualifying and race. I'm excited to get going again as we know anything can happen in Formula 1 and we want to be in a position to capitalise on any opportunity.

What did you do this week?
DA: I stayed in Austria for a few days off. These first three races are going to be intense so finding some time to recharge is going to be quite important. It's a beautiful place with some amazing scenery so I've just made the most of that. We went hiking, took in the sights and ate some schnitzels!

Esteban Ocon scored good points on his return to Formula 1, now he has his eyes set on this weekend's Steiermark Grand Prix.

How was it to score strongly on your first race back?
To score points on my first start with the team is really satisfying. I know that it's the team's first points in Austria since returning to Formula 1, so that's quite nice and demonstrates everyone's hard work. It's been a while since I last lined up on the grid too, so I'm pleased to get back into action with some kind of reward in the bag. My start wasn't the best but after that we kept it clean, remained in the race and we managed to progress into the top eight. We know there are small areas to improve but we have another opportunity this weekend to do even better.

What did you learn over the weekend?
Firstly, the car felt good all weekend and the upgrades worked as the team had planned. It's a good step since testing so we're definitely heading the right way. We missed out on a bit of track time on Friday and again on Saturday, so we didn't have the best preparation for qualifying. It was important to be a bit further up the grid but we found a few things to improve in some areas. Friday practice this week brings us the chance to work on those small details which should make a difference.

What is the plan to prepare for the next round?
I trained all week in between a little bit of rest. My body is still getting used to the demands of racing again! We still have two more races to go during this opening triple header so I know that rest and recovery is going to be more important than before. I've been taking in the views here and then it'll be time to bring back the focus for the next race.

This weekend brings a unique opportunity with back-to-back Grands Prix held on the same circuit configuration. Chief Race Engineer Ciaron Pilbeam explains how it will differ to the usual double-header, including a very different looking Friday practice.

How does the team prepare for a back-to-back race at the same track?
Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer: It's going to be quite different. On a normal Friday, all teams follow a similar routine, aiming to cover three main priorities: understanding the tyres over short and long runs, working on the car setup and assessing any development items you might have on the car. This weekend we already have a good understanding of the tyres, and there will not be many major development items since the races are only a few days apart. That allows us to focus on refining some aspects of setup that we would not normally be able to do. Our priorities will change a bit and be geared towards more specific things we want to improve. It's going to be like an extra test but with fewer tyres available!

There are things last weekend that we chose not to explore on Friday as it was the first race. Therefore, there will be more of an opportunity this weekend to follow up those ideas. It's a rare opportunity as we've never had two races in two weeks held on the same circuit.

Looking ahead, Silverstone's two races will be a little different as the tyre compounds are not all the same between the two rounds.

Is the weather going to play a part this week?
CP: The forecast this week does look quite unstable and it is likely to be wet at some points of the weekend. In the build up to last week's race we experienced a couple of thunderstorms and heavy downpours right up until Friday's first practice. It then changed and became dry but it could be interesting if we see some rain this weekend.

What did we learn about the car over the weekend?
CP: The car is considerably better than last year. This circuit was challenging for our car last year, and we have definitely made progress. We need to capitalise on the improvements. Qualifying was disappointing as both cars could have been higher up the grid. The order of the teams has moved around since the end of last year, and we are amongst several teams in an upper midfield group. We'll see how the season progresses – hopefully the improvements we have seen here will carry over to other circuits and we can have a competitive season.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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