Abiteboul is aiming higher despite double top ten spot

Nico H�lkenberg on his way to another top ten finish in Sunday's 'Monaco Grand Prix
Nico H�lkenberg on his way to another top ten finish in Sunday's 'Monaco Grand Prix

Despite another double top-ten finish, Renault Sport F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul was not completely satisfied.

Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz posted another double points finish in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix for the Enstone-based team.

Hülkenberg crossed the line in eighth position after a hard charge from 11th on the grid and Sainz came home in tenth, dropping two places from his starting position, giving the team a strong points haul and consolidating fourth position in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship.

But Abiteboul feels the team is capable of more than that and said: “It’s been a mixed weekend. The overall result is good - two cars in the points and a good cushion in fourth in the championship - but a race like this one exposes more of our weaknesses.

“Carlos did his best with the strategy but experienced more severe tyre degradation than expected on his set of Ultrasofts. Nico’s first tyres came back to life so we could implement the strategy that we had planned and he could secure eighth.

“Despite the fact it is a much better result than last year in Monaco, we were not as competitive as recent races and more work needs to be done on tyre management and understanding, as in the current situation we are almost better to start 11th and have a free tyre choice than to start within the first ten with the qualifying tyres. Clearly, some teams ahead of us manage to make it work, so it’s possible.”

Hülkenberg said: “It’s a positive feeling, I had the possibility of running a different strategy to Carlos and it worked well. It was a good recovery from a not so successful qualifying and I think eighth was the best we could do in the situation.

“My first stint was very successful, it was very difficult in the middle as I had a lot of graining, but the tyre recovered and I could do some very quick laps and it brought the race back to me. That’s the thing with Monaco, it can be crazy or it can be like that, but we made the most of the opportunities.”

Sainz added: “It was a very difficult race for me. We changed tyres on lap 16 and then I had to do over 60 laps with the Ultrasoft tyre, which was not ideal due to the heavy graining we had.

“There wasn’t much I could do – the other cars on other strategies were just much quicker. Let’s look at everything calmly and come back stronger in Montreal.”