Ricciardo's car undamaged after hydraulic issue in F1 Belgian GP practice

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Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says Daniel Ricciardo’s car has suffered no apparent damage after a hydraulic issue cut his Belgian Grand Prix second practice session short.

Ricciardo ended the day at Spa second fastest and just 0.048 seconds off pacesetter Max Verstappen, though was forced to park his Renault on the Kemmel straight with just under 20 minutes of the afternoon session remaining owing to a hydraulics issue.

Abiteboul confirmed to Sky F1 after FP2 that Ricciardo’s car escaped any serious damage from the issue.

“We feel that the engine is working well,” the Renault team boss said.

“Obviously there is the disappointment of the run that was cut short because of the hydraulic problem.

“But as far as I understand no damage [was done] to the gearbox, which was new, or to the engine, which is what matters.

“The car was going to stop anyway when you lose hydraulic pressure, but we understand no damage was done to the engine.”

Both Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon wound up within half a second of Verstappen in FP2, with a Renault driver setting the fastest times in the high-speed first and third sectors.

Abiteboul concedes Friday running rarely shows the full picture of the competitive order, but its showing at Spa reaffirmed that the Renault has “made some progress” this season.

“What happens on Friday isn’t always representative of Saturday and Sunday, and it’s Sunday that matters,” Abiteboul added.

“We see that the car has made some progress, except for Barcelona, where we were not quite able to get the set-up, but also in terms of overall aerodynamic performance competitiveness.

“At a low downforce track, a bit like Silverstone, but even a different extreme here, we feel good.”

Expanding on Renault’s Friday programme, Abiteboul says both cars are running in the lower downforce “spectrum” and feels the team has a machine which is “a bit more competitive” than its midfield rivals at a track with Spa’s characteristics.

“Here it’s basically as low as you dare and can cope with,” Abiteboul said of the car’s downforce levels.

“The weather is going to be interesting, because you also need to factor into the choice we’ll be making this evening what it looks like on Saturday and Sunday.

“I think in general we are on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of downforce production here.

“Daniel can cope with it fairly well, I think Esteban is also learning to work around the limitations of the car.

“Esteban has a fresh engine also here, which means a bit more kilowatts, which matters quite a lot here.

“So, it will be interesting to see the dynamic unfold.

“I think you have a midfield that is so tight that the characteristics of the car, engine, downforce, drag and so forth, will have an impact on the competitiveness of the weekend.

“I think we have to try to work to improve on the weaknesses.

“In general we have a car which is a bit more competitive than the midfield on low downforce tracks, so hopefully it’s going to play for us this weekend and next weekend in Monza.”

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