Abiteboul has mixed feelings after opening race

Nico Hulkenberg on his way to seventh place in Sunday's'Australian Grand Prix
Nico Hulkenberg on his way to seventh place in Sunday's'Australian Grand Prix

Renault Sport F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul had mixed feelings following Sunday’s opening race.

Nico Hülkenberg’s seventh place earned points for the Enstone team at Albert Park. But Daniel Ricciardo, making his debut for the team at his home race, retired on lap 28 as a precaution following damage to the car suffered during an unfortunate lap one incident.

We know the car has much more pace than we have shown, especially in qualifying

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul

Abiteboul said: “The main negative was qualifying, where we had a number of issues that impacted our potential and starting position. We know the car has much more pace than we have shown, especially in qualifying, and it will be the priority of the next race to extract more from the initial platform with a smoother execution across the weekend while we work on our planned upgrades.”

Hülkenberg said: “It’s a good start to the season with some solid points on the board. It was a tricky race – especially the final ten laps – I was under pressure and really had to fight to hang on to seventh place.

“It’s a positive result but it also shows we have a lot of work ahead of us. We need to dig deep and continue finding performance especially to improve the car balance.”

Ricciardo added: “It was unlucky more than anything and, unfortunately, that was our race run there and then.

“It all happened very quickly and it was a shame we finished like that.

“Nico showed in the race that the car belongs in the top eight and we’ll be aiming for a smoother weekend in Bahrain and a strong result.”