27 July 2015
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix: ‘Never say die’ Renault enjoys best weekend
Two podium finishers and a career-best fourth place added up to a return to F1 form for the beleaguered Renault Sport operation.
Renault is looking forward to an 'interesting' second half to the 2015 F1 season, having posted its best cumulative result of the campaign in Hungary on Sunday.
The regie has endured a troubled start to the year, with its V6 turbo engine seemingly both down on power and prone to unreliability through the first nine rounds. However, despite another failure for Daniel Ricciardo in Friday practice, three Renault-powered cars completed the race day top four behind Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari, while Carlos Sainz was holding down a scoring position before retirement.
Second and third were seasonal bests for Infiniti Red Bull Racing's Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, while Scuderia Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen also had cause for celebration, surviving a late penalty to cross the line just shy of a rostrum in fourth, the best result of his short F1 career to date.
“Every time Mercedes is under some sort of pressure, we see that they are not invincible,” Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul commented as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg faded to sixth and eighth after troubled races, “It was unfortunate that not all four cars made it home after Sainz was forced to retire due to a technical issue, but it was another trouble-free race in terms of engine reliability.
“We know we can continue to work on performance, which clearly continues to improve as we tune up engine power with more confidence on reliability. We enjoyed the help of Total this weekend, allowing us to extract more power with a new fuel. And it is so good to be fighting at the top once more. The second half of the season will certainly be very interesting, both on the track and off it but now it's time to rest!”
Kvyat put in another strong performance in an increasingly positive campaign, never straying from the top ten before claiming his maiden F1 podium, while Ricciardo endured a more dramatic race, tumbling down the order after contact with Valtteri Bottas at the start, and taking more punishment from both Mercedes drivers as he recovered, making some characteristically bold overtaking manoeuvres until he was back in podium contention. A mistake from championship leader Hamilton forced the Australian to pit with front wing damage, but he still hacked his way back to third and the final step of the podium.
“Our never-say-die attitude has paid off,” Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport's director of operations, claimed, “Not only has our reliability improved and taken us to the end of the race, but our performance has also stepped up so that we are able to fight at the front.
“We know we still have a lot of work to do, but this strong result before the summer break is a real achievement. We know where we are going and realise that there is still some more progress to be made in order to achieve these results on a regular basis. But, for the second part of the season, we look forward to showing off the progress we have made so far. Many thanks to all the hard work from our guys in the factories in England, Italy and France.”
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