It’s tattoo time at Renault after Daniel Ricciardo’s gritty drive to third place, the first podium for the French team in a decade, at the Eifel Grand Prix.
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul promised he would get a tattoo if Ricciardo could pluck a podium before his departure to McLaren at the end of the year and now he has to make good on the deal.
“It’s going to happen. We’ll have to do some thinking now,” Riccardo said after following Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to the flag at the Nurburgring.
“Probably something to do with me but I think with a German flavour. This is obviously the place we did it so a little tip of the hat to something traditional in Germany as well.”
Ricciardo’s result was great news for him and Australia, but the Eifel event also saw Hamilton equal Michael Schumacher’s record for race wins and he waved a Schumi race helmet from 2012 as he celebrated his 91st victory.
“I don’t know even what to say. You know, when you grow up watching someone and you idolise them,” said Hamilton.
“Just seeing his dominance for so long I don’t think anyone, and especially me, could imagine that I’d be anywhere near Michael in terms of records. It’s going to take me some time to get used to it. Huge respect to Michael.”
At first it looked as if Hamilton could struggle to make number 91 as Valtteri Bottas jumped smartly from pole and pushed him out at the first corner, but then a braking mistake and a power loss dropped the Finn to second and then forced him to park in the pits.
So Max Verstappen mounted his usual challenge but, despite getting close after a late safety car, he could not do better than second for Red Bull.
Ricciardo was always in the mix for third after a smart start and an early pass on Charles Leclerc, who eventually faded to seventh for Ferrari. He was forced to manage his Pirelli tyres after an early stop, then battle past a pack of other midfielders including Alex Albon, and in the final laps he had to resist an attack from Sergio Perez following a Safety Car to retrieve the broken McLaren of Lando Norris.
There were plenty of battle packs and a surprising number of retirements and Nico Hulkenberg did well to advance from 20th on the grid to eighth after a last-minute call-up from Racing Point.
Ricciardo had plenty of positives after his first podium at Renault, even as the countdown continues to his move to McLaren in 2021.
“When we signed on the dotted line, this Renault contract, it was to be up here and get a podium by year two. We achieved that. Next year is another story, I am moving on but I think this really does still cap a pretty cool story we’ve had and shared for these two years. The good news is it’s not over yet,” he said.
“I think it’s a good package and we should have confidence now for the remainder of the season.
But now he’s thinking of the ink he will leave behind at Renault.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of brainstorming to do for Cyril’s tattoo. I’m sure he’s going to be excited. The first one is always a fun one.”
Eifel Grand Prix – Results
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point|
|10||Antonio Giovanazzi||Alfa Romeo|