It was contrasting fortunes on both sides of the Renault F1 Team garage at the Singapore Grand Prix, with Nico Hülkenberg getting points on the same weekend that it was announced he would be passed over for a drive with the Haas F1 Team in 2020, while Daniel Ricciardo‘s charge for points ended after a collision with Antonio Giovinazzi.
Hülkenberg’s race was compromised due to collision with Carlos Sainz Jr. on lap 1 as both collided into Turn 5. With Renault decided to gamble with hard tyres at the start, and Hülkenberg drove a solid race to finish ninth after the team pitting him for medium tyres behind the safety car.
“I’m happy we got something from the race,” said Hülkenberg, “Even if it’s not what we wanted today, After the contact on lap one it was always going to be difficult, but we kept cool, patient and managed to take two points.
“We got a bit lucky with the first safety car, it ensured we could put the Mediums on and then make some progress.”
For Ricciardo his weekend would be severely harmed after being put to the back of the grid by the stewards through a technical infringement after qualifying eighth on the grid, however, the Australian carved his way through the field passing cars left right and centre as he moved into the point-scoring places.
But a collision with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi into turn 7 on lap 34 caused a right rear puncture putting an end to a possible points finish after a solid drive for the honey badger.
“It was a long one today and it’s a shame it ended up like that,” said a disappointed Ricciardo. “The start was fun with some good overtakes and getting into a decent position. I gained some confidence there and got into a rhythm.
“We were ticking every box and really made the most of everyone being bunched up. Then it all came undone with the incident and the puncture meant our race was more or less over. We deserved a better outcome today.”
Renault’s team principal Cyril Abiteboul was downcast after a weekend which saw McLaren retain their advantage in the constructors’ championship by thirteen points as F1 heads to Russia.
“There is obviously a sense of ‘what could have been’ today,” said Abiteboul. “After showing decent pace all weekend, in qualifying and during the race, two points for Nico seems a poor reward for both him and the team even if he was last after the first-lap contact with Carlos.
“The race was marred by many incidents, which we didn’t benefit from. Daniel’s comeback after his disqualification was remarkable on a track like this. Contact sent him back to square one.”