Renault cautiously optimistic after strong Friday practice

Renault are cautiously optimistic after a strong performance during Friday’s practice sessions for the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Enstone-based team showed good pace in both practice sessions, with the stand-out performance coming from Daniel Ricciardo in practice two.

Both cars were well inside the top ten in the first session, with the pair matching McLaren for pace, an ended up seventh and ninth, but Ricciardo managed a brilliant lap in practice two to end up second fastest.

That pace looks set to put the team firmly in with a shout for a decent qualifying result on Saturday, but the team are cautious about their performance, given the fact that their Friday form hasn’t always translated into Saturday and Sunday.

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In addition to that, Ricciardo was forced to pull of the track in the latter stages of free practice two after his Renault RS20 suffered an issue.

Speaking about Friday’s practice sessions, Renault Chief Race Engineer Ciaron Pilbeam said: “We’re mostly happy with today’s running. The morning session went smoothly and to plan.

“Daniel’s Soft tyre run was competitive; however, we’ve seen that before on a Friday so I would say only that we are cautiously optimistic.

“Esteban was also happy with the balance on his car.

“Daniel’s long run was going well but, after a couple of laps, the car stopped on track with a problem.

“That interrupted everyone’s long runs, including Esteban’s, but his run on Mediums looked consistent.

“We have everything we need to look at tonight to work on our qualifying and race strategy.”

Ricciardo added that he knew his qualifying simulation run would have put him high up on the timesheet as he felt really comfortable in the car, but that he and the team needs to make sure they can repeat the performance on Saturday.

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“It was another good FP2 as has been the case for us at the last few rounds.” added Ricciardo.

“We have to do it tomorrow, though, as that’s when it counts.

“Today was strong, even with the issue at the end. For safety, we pulled the car over as there’s no point taking risks with mechanical issues on Fridays.

“Our low fuel run was a good one. During the lap, I knew it felt good and sometimes you just know when the car’s working. I

“knew it was competitive and I wasn’t that surprised it was up there on the timesheets.

“It was a good day and we certainly understood a lot from it.”