Renault F1 Team salvaged one point from an arduous VTB Russian Grand Prix with Nico Hülkenberg crossing the line in tenth position, however, Daniel Ricciardo retired on lap 25 after sustaining heavy damage to his car in a first-lap incident.
The race had promised much for the team, with Nico lining up in sixth and Daniel tenth. A difficult start for Nico saw him lose three places, before a slow first pit-stop dropped him out of the top ten. Further misfortune followed when an ill-timed Virtual Safety Car (VSC) allowed others to pit and gain positions, but Nico fought his way back up the order to finish tenth.
Daniel was involved in a first-lap collision at Turn 4, which caused a rear-left puncture. It then became obvious the damage was much more widespread, with huge aerodynamic and balance loss. Unable to make any progress from the rear of the field, he was retired from the race.
Started P6, finished P10
“It was a frustrating race as the car deserved to be better than tenth. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong today: a poor start, a slow pit-stop and an unfortunate VSC timing. It’s disappointing as the potential was there for a better result. I felt comfortable in the car all weekend, and it had been fairly solid, so to leave with one point is a little frustrating. The midfield is bunched up and it’s going to be like that for the rest of the season. It’ll be nip and tuck throughout and we need to ensure we’re getting the maximum from races.”
Started P10, DNF
“Unfortunately, our race was pretty much over from the start. I had too much damage on the car to carry on, which is a shame. It was a bit chaotic through Turn 2 and I had the inside line for Turn 4 where I thought I was safe. I got hit and had a puncture and damage to the floor. I’ll look at it with the perspective that if I qualify higher up the grid then I’m less likely to be in the bad stuff. I’ll take responsibility for that, but in terms of the accident, I was just a passenger.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: “Today’s result is frustrating. Since the summer break, we’ve been strong in qualifying with both cars in the top ten. But, in three races out of four, things haven’t gone our way and that was the case again today.
“The lap one collision forced Daniel to retire with damage, while Nico’s race was compromised by a slow first-stop and an unfortunate VSC where he lost places with cars ahead able to pit under it. Once again, it’s easy to blame various circumstances, but it would be too easy to rely on that.
“We simply need to do a better job and offer our drivers even better starting positions and straightforward races. The car has the pace, we need to focus ourselves on achieving that.”