Abiteboul is confident Renault can bounce back

Carlos Sainz finished just outside the points for the Renault Sport F1 Team
Carlos Sainz finished just outside the points for the Renault Sport F1 Team

The Renault Sport F1 Team endured a disappointing Belgian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz worked up the order to finish just one position shy of the points in 11th but Enstone team-mate Nico Hülkenberg’s race ended at the first corner after he out-braked himself and hit Fernando Alonso in front.

The result doesn’t reflect our actual place so we reset for Monza and remain focussed on our development strategy

Renault Sport F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul

Both drivers took tactical power unit-related grid penalties meaning that Hülkenberg lined up in 18th and Sainz in 19th on the grid.

Despite missing out on the points, the team remains in fourth place in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship.

Hülkenberg said: “When I hit the brakes, it locked up the front wheels and I slid. These cars are aerodynamically sensitive, especially with cars bunching up ahead as you lose a lot of grip and load.

“I have to admit it caught me by surprise. I was a bit late on the brakes, so it’s frustrating for me, the team, and the other drivers caught up in the incident.

“That’s racing and unfortunately these things happen. We have Monza next weekend, so I want to get this out of the system as soon as possible and focus on that.”

Sainz said: “Overall, it’s been a difficult weekend. When you lack confidence and balance in the car, it makes things tough at this track. We have things to analyse and look into.

“On Friday I was more comfortable with the car, so we have to check what’s happened over the course of the weekend. We know what we need to improve.

“We have a couple of days to work hard and get set for Monza.”

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul said: “We knew this weekend would be challenging with a scheduled power unit change and the resultant grid penalty for Nico, then we opted to do the same with Carlos after his struggles in qualifying and this meant we started the race from the back of the grid.

“From aggressive aero set-ups to tyre choices, we tried various measures to turnaround this very challenging situation that simply didn’t work. On his side, Nico made a misjudgement at the start.

“Carlos made the most of challenging circumstances and finished narrowly outside of the points. The result doesn’t reflect our actual place so we reset for Monza and remain focussed on our development strategy.”