Renault make their point in Japan

Carlos Sainz on his way to tenth place in Sunday's 'Japanese Grand Prix
Carlos Sainz on his way to tenth place in Sunday's 'Japanese Grand Prix

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul was delighted to see the Renault Sport Formula One Team return to the points in Japan.

Carlos Sainz fought through to finish the Honda Japanese Grand Prix in tenth place at Suzuka. But Enstone team-mate Nico Hülkenberg retired from the race on lap 37 with a rear end issue.

After Sochi, it is further evidence that our race pace is competitive at this stage of our development

Renault Sport F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul

The team remain in fourth place in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship, eight points ahead of their nearest rivals, the Haas F1 Team.

Abiteboul said: “It was an important result for the team. After Sochi, it is further evidence that our race pace is competitive at this stage of our development.

“We’ve also shown that the Power Unit is capable of doing great things in race conditions at high-power sensitive circuits, like Suzuka, with Red Bull Racing fighting for second place in these track conditions.

“Carlos drove strongly throughout and never relented for that final point, while Nico unfortunately had to retire. It’s clear what needs to be fixed and that’s improving our qualifying pace.

“We’ve seen that small differences can play a huge role in starting between seventh or 14th. We absolutely need to get on top of this and get the car back where it belongs at circuits which should be better for us.”

Sainz said: “It was a very positive race from the team. We made a decent start to be on the brink of the points and then we had to do some overtaking at the end.

“For us, a point here is the best we could achieve starting from 13th, so that’s a very strong result for us. The team executed everything very well; the strategy, the pit-stop, it all worked.

“We knew we were up against it this weekend, so it’s great value to score and now we need to build on this in the final four races.”

Hülkenberg added: “We tried a different strategy, starting from 16th on the medium tyre. We were able to show respectable pace relative to the others on softer tyres, but it was always going to be a tough battle starting from where we did.

“We thought we could make the medium last a little bit longer than it did, and then it was unfortunate that I had to retire the car as something didn’t feel right at the rear after the pit stop.

“While there were no points for me , Carlos and the team had a great race so it was a good effort at a crucial time in the championship battle.”