For the second race in succession, Renault came away with a bumper points haul from the Hungarian Grand Prix – as both Fernando Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet fought hard and displayed strong pace to take the chequered flag in fourth and sixth positions respectively.
Double Formula 1 World Champion Alonso in particular enjoyed an energetic race, spending the first two-thirds of the distance artfully keeping the markedly quicker Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen behind him.
Though the Finn got past during the second round of pit-stops, his Spanish adversary nevertheless continued to press on, withstanding the late-race onslaught of recovering former McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to take five very well-deserved points, and his highest finish since the season curtain-raiser in Melbourne all the way back in March.
“We fought hard today and we were on the pace with a car that was working well, which is encouraging for the rest of the championship,” the 27-year-old reflected afterwards.
“We scored some important points which is satisfying, even though we could have maybe been on the podium. We must now continue working hard, but today's result shows that we are moving in the right direction.”
Piquet, for his part, was clearly buoyed by his Hockenheim success of two weeks ago, and battled back from a scrappy opening lap to show impressive form to come home barely ten seconds and two spots behind Alonso in sixth – with a faster lap time to his name than his esteemed team-mate for good measure and the fourth-quickest overall, better even than that of race-winner Heikki Kovalainen.
“I am happy with my result this weekend,” the ever-improving Brazilian rookie affirmed. “I scored some valuable points, which is promising for the rest of the season.
“I made a good start, but unfortunately I made a small mistake on the first lap, which meant I lost the two positions that I had made up. It shows that at this level you cannot afford to make the smallest error. I am continuing to learn, and I am determined to continue building on this progress when we go to Valencia at the end of the month.”
Both the Régie's
managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds were similarly pleased by the outcome of the race – with the eight points gained keeping the Enstone-based concern still well in touch with Toyota in the fraught scrap over fourth place in the constructors' standings.
“Today's result is a solid and encouraging one for the whole team,” underlined Briatore. “Our two drivers did a great job, and we are now ready to continue pushing hard in the second half of the season to finish in fourth place in the constructors' championship.”
“It's a great result for the team,” agreed Symonds, “and probably our best race of the year. Both cars had to race hard, and we had to think our way carefully through to the end of the race. The results and points achieved today are a good reward for lots of hard work in the team and at the factories.”