Cyril Abiteboul heralded Nico Hülkenberg after the German delivered a strong performance during the Spanish Grand Prix, finishing sixth, the best result for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team since they made their manufacturer return at the beginning of 2016.
The Managing Director of the Enstone-based team felt the race result for the German was ‘fantastic’, especially after a difficult qualifying session, with luck playing it’s part.
“A fantastic race result after a difficult qualifying session yesterday,” said Abiteboul. “It goes to show, you should never let your head go down and you should always maximise every opportunity.
“Nico took advantage of a great start, the pit crew delivered exactly what was required during the race and also a bit of luck fell our way. We showed good execution of strategy and pit stops and our race pace was better than that of our competitors, Haas, Williams and Toro Rosso.”
Abiteboul admitted it was good to see the race pace of the RS17 was much improved on race day than it was during qualifying, something that has not always been the case so far in 2017, with drivers usually struggling in race conditions.
“It is positive that we continue to improve in these areas, however we still have to work hard to understand how to maximise the performance of the R.S.17,” said Abiteboul.
“This weekend was rather unusual for us because our race pace was better than our qualifying performance.”
Abiteboul admits it was not a strong weekend on the other side of the garage, with Jolyon Palmer being eliminated from qualifying at the first hurdle and then finishing a twice-lapped fifteenth, and there is work to be done in order to solve the Briton’s pace issues.
“For Jolyon it was a tough Grand Prix and we are dedicated to understanding what we can do to improve this,” said Abiteboul.
Abiteboul hopes that the improved pace of the RS17 translates into a strong Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May, although he acknowledges the street circuit will offer a unique set of challenges for the team.
“We head next to Monaco, a circuit which presents very unique challenges, eager to continue the team’s upward trajectory,” insisted Abiteboul.