Renault Formula 1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits that a one-stop strategy left Daniel Ricciardo showing "miserable pace" during the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was one of five top 10 qualifiers obliged to start on the soft tyre after using it in Q2, along with Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
Knowing that Gasly would be out of reach on pure performance, Renault decided to put Ricciardo on a one-stop strategy in order to protect him from those who started from outside the top on the more favourable medium tyre.
That meant a long 18-lap opening stint on his used softs, followed by a run to the end on the hard tyre. Ricciardo ended up being lapped, but the strategy paid off he finished in seventh 1.9 seconds clear of Racing Point's Sergio Perez. His fastest lap was only the 16th fastest in the whole field.
"It think it was a more solid performance than it looks," Abiteboul told Motorsport .com. "It was extremely challenging to make the one-stop work, starting on the soft compound. We had to face the usual dilemma of starting from P7 to P10 with our kind of pace, and having to start on the softest compound, and still make it work."
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