Cyril Abiteboul reckons his Renault Sport Formula One Team are continuing to get stronger after Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. both scored points in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, with the former taking his second consecutive sixth place finish.
That was backed up by Sainz finishing on Sebastian Vettel’s tail in ninth, and the Renault team principal was pleased with the outcome of the race despite acknowledging that their starting inside the top ten, and on the Ultrasoft Pirelli tyre, had left them in a difficult position when it came to strategy calls.
However, thanks to a strong start and some positive overtakes, both drivers remained in contention for points, with the ten points they earned helping them close the gap to the McLaren F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Today was obviously a good day for the team which shows we are gaining in maturity,” said Abiteboul. “We had decent starting positions with both cars in the top ten, but that actually put us in a difficult position with our race strategy as we knew we would have to do two stops when the competitors around us were in a position to complete the race with one.
“But thanks to a strong first lap and many very clean overtaking moves from our drivers we made that work. The safety car helped slightly but I don’t think it would have changed much. The team is building and getting stronger across the board.”
Abiteboul was also pleased to see the Renault power unit take its first victory of 2018 in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo, and he feels it proves just what the engine is capable of.
“Our pace was encouraging, as was the win of Daniel Ricciardo, showing the Renault power unit is getting there and is a race-win capable engine,” said Abiteboul.