Renault car now able 'to sit in the sweet spot' - Ricciardo

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Renault owes much of its progress this season to the performance consistency of its R.S.20, a car the Aussie says is no longer a "hit and miss" proposition.

Ricciardo's podium last weekend at the Eifel Grand Prix was Renault's first top-three finish since its return to F1 as a works outfit in 2016.

But the French team's consistent track record this season has also put it in the running for a spot on the podium of the Constructors' championship along with Racing Point and McLaren, with the three teams now separated by just six points.

And Ricciardo is banking on the R.S.20's new-found regularity and pace to steal its midfield rivals' thunder at the end of F1's fierce battle for "best of the rest".

"From the start of the year, it's been a new car from last year in terms of it's been a lot better," said Ricciardo.

"The rear of the car has picked up a lot of downforce, so that's given us drivers confidence to nail the throttle and get off the corner better."

The seven-time Grand Prix winner, who will be moving on to McLaren next season, believes the updates introduced earlier this year at the British Grand Prix had a crucial impact in delivering improving Renault's consistency.

"It was around Silverstone, I think, we had a few updates and that really just felt like we were able to basically find a bit more ease in setting the car up and it wasn't so hit-or-miss.

"Last year I felt we, at times, could be very fast or well outside the top ten. I think now we're just able to sit in that sweet spot and obviously the performance is there.

"It's proven now: we've done it on low downforce and high downforce circuits. So, yeah, I think it's a good package and we should have confidence now for the remainder of the season."

Renault sporting director Alan Permane confirmed the undeniable progress of the Enstone squad's R.S.20 at high-downforce venues.

"The last two tracks that had this sort of downforce level were Barcelona and Hungary, and we didn’t fare very well at either of those," said Permane.

"So we were a little bit apprehensive coming here, but happy that the improvements that we’ve made to the car since we’ve been at those tracks have worked, have carried through into the higher downforce level."

"I don’t think we’re scared of anywhere, honestly, now. Since Spa, since this last sequence of races, we scored very well at all of those.

"Someone said to me before we got here, we were only second to Mercedes in terms of point scoring in these last four or five races. So definitely, the momentum is with us."

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