‘True pace’: Ricciardo’s warning to rivals after key changes
A rejuvenated Renault admit their home French GP is an "important milestone", but are confident that upgrades will help them reveal their "true pace" over a busy and crucial F1 summer.
Renault kick-started their season with a superb double points finish in Canada - with Daniel Ricciardo even qualifying up in fourth - and have moved from eighth to fifth in the constructors' standings.
"The result, and the manner in which we achieved it, should give us the confidence and motivation to push on through a demanding period of races with five Grands Prix before the summer break," said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
But while the French team are now just two points behind McLaren as 'best of the rest' in the midfield, Abiteboul claims the team are focusing on reducing "the gap to the front" - something he hopes chassis upgrades at Le Castellet will help with.
"France is clearly an important milestone," he added. "Not only is it our home Grand Prix at Le Castellet, but also the opportunity to demonstrate a further improvement in our competitiveness.
"While Canada, a power sensitive circuit, underlined the gains made in engine performance, France will see the introduction of several development items on the chassis.
"One thing is clear: we cannot dwell on Montreal and to aim for a repeat of that result and keep striving to reduce the gap to the front."
Ricciardo was arguably the star of the Canadian GP weekend as he followed up his sensational qualifying with a sixth-placed finish in the race, one position ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg.
It was Ricciardo's best result since leaving Red Bull, and underlined why Renault spent big to sign him.
The Australian is also growing in confidence, both inside the car and with his team ahead a hectic summer.
"I'm really looking forward to embracing the French atmosphere and hopefully doing the team proud," said Ricciardo. "I know it's a significant race for them and how much it means to everyone involved.
"The target for France has to be repeating the form of Canada. We have some upgrades, which should mean the start of a trend of our true pace.
"It's coming along well and, as the car gets better, I'm also growing in confidence and I'll keep getting better with it."
This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.