Renault F1 Team endured a day of mixed fortunes at the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlargos this weekend, with one driver finishing in the points and another ending up right at the back of the field.
Drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo both received penalties for the parts they played in incidents during the race.
Ricciardo was given a five-second stop and go penalty for a collision with Haas F1 Team‘s Kevin Magnussen. The Australian racer also had to have his front wing changed, which dropped him to twelfth.
Hülkenberg was also handed a five-second penalty during the safety car period, dropping him to fifteenth after finishing twelfth on the road.
“I don’t really know what happened today and I just couldn’t seem to make progress in the race. There was some excitement at the end with the safety cars and the restarts. It was fun with some battling, but it just wasn’t happening for me today. It shows how important qualifying is to be right up there and being in a position to gain places,” said the German.
Things did begin to look more positive for Ricciardo, who was able to cut his way through the traffic, as he was able to take advantage of the second safety car restart and the retirement of both Scuderia Ferrari drivers, ending up finishing seventh on circuit but be promoted to sixth due to penalties for others.
“After the early incident, I would have said ‘no way we could finish seventh’, so I’m quite happy with that. I take responsibility for the incident with Kevin. It was close, but I went into him and he spun,” said Ricciardo.
“Sometimes you can do that and it works, but sometimes you touch wheels. In that situation you think the race is over, but we kept our heads down and managed a really strong race.”
He concluded that despite the misfortunes of the weekend, he enjoyed the race, and is looking forward to the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit in two weeks time.
“The safety car restarts were fun and it was good out there. There’s one more to go now and I’m excited for that.”
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul took a realistic view of the weekend, believing that certain elements could have been executed more effectively.
“In view of our less than optimal starting positions on a track that really doesn’t suit us, we once again had to go for a bold strategy. This time it didn’t pay off, in stark contrast to previous races,” said the Frenchman.
He added: “The collision with Magnussen and the ensuing penalty effectively excluded Daniel from a race that could have been better for him, especially with a bit of patience at the beginning of the race.
“He nonetheless showed resilience even when racing in last place, right until the events at the end of the race that allowed him to climb back up the order.”