Cyril Abiteboul felt that Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix was the first time everything went to plan for the Renault F1 Team, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg advancing into the top ten shootout and Qualifying inside the top eight.
Ultimately, only Ricciardo was able to convert that position into points, doing so with a risky one-stop strategy whereas others around him went for two, but the points gained ensure Renault moved up into fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“For the first time this season the weekend of the Chinese Grand Prix went to plan up to the end of qualifying: the competitiveness of our cars, and our drivers, made it possible to reach Q3 and we could have maybe started even a bit higher on the grid,” said team principal Abiteboul.
“On Sunday, Daniel drove a solid race completely in control and he was the only driver to make the one-stop strategy work starting the race on Softs allowing him to seal his first points for the team.
“Thanks to the points scored, and to a fragmented grid, we are now fourth position in the championship.”
Despite moving up to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, Abiteboul was not as happy to see Hülkenberg retire from a points-paying position for the second consecutive race due to a mechanical failure, and he insists that work is being done to ensure these failures do not reoccur again whilst also ensuring new updates are brought to the R.S.19.
“However, we have had another retirement, the fourth in six starts, three of these were due to reliability issues,” said the Frenchman. “If our objective this season – to widen the midfield gap – remains unchanged then we must accept to put in strong efforts to resolve these issues that could compromise our season.
“Nevertheless, we will push on and bring new elements over the next races.”
Abiteboul hopes Renault can capitalise on the often-unpredictable Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend and secure a good haul of points to consolidate their position as the fourth best team on the grid.
“Baku is often unpredictable, the racing there is thrilling, and it is an opportunity to capitalise on rivals’ errors whilst avoiding making some ourselves,” said Abiteboul.