MAY 18, 2016
Ricciardo happy with Renault engine step
Daniel Ricciardo is upbeat about the future after testing Renault's highly-anticipated engine upgrade in Barcelona.
The Australian admitted to being "bitter" last Sunday, when his brand new teammate Max Verstappen sensationally ended Red Bull's winning drought at his first attempt.
"It's frustrating -- I think we just threw the win away," Ricciardo had said after the race, referring to his three-stop strategy versus Verstappen's two.
"I'm bitter right now. Not with Max, not at all, just bitter at the situation," he added.
By Tuesday, and the start of post-race testing at the same Barcelona track, Ricciardo's famous smile was back on track.
"So far everything looks quite good," he said, as Renault got to work on a significant engine upgrade that is reportedly 35 horse power up and an almost half a second boost on the earlier specification.
"The engine was reliable and the step is noticeable," Ricciardo added.
Esteban Ocon, who drove the works Renault in Friday practice last week, agrees that the new engine is a step forward.
The French teen tested the yellow car on Tuesday and observed: "The engine is really good, significantly better. You can feel the extra power."
Renault has pencilled in Canada for the debut, but there are suggestions the engine could actually be raced for the first time in Monaco, where Red Bull is expecting a highly competitive race.
"We will use it where we can and it would be great if it is in Monaco, but we'll have to wait and see," Ricciardo is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper.
Also pushing hard, however, is Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel testing on Tuesday and insisting that Red Bull's sudden push ahead of the Maranello team was a one-off.
The German said Ferrari is using the Barcelona test to sort out its qualifying problems.
"I think it's an unique opportunity to have a test right after a grand prix on the same track, in more or less the same conditions," he is quoted by Italy's Mediaset.
"Saturday we had some problems and that is why today we tried some solutions."
Vettel said he expects Ferrari to be back in normal form in Monaco.
"I think Monaco is a good track for us -- last year we were very strong," said the German. "Right now we are not the favourites, that is Mercedes, but if there will be the chance to win then we will try to do it.
"If we can get back to where we were in the final practice session (for the Spanish GP) then in the race Red Bull is not a threat to us," Vettel added.
"For sure they have improved, but so have we."