Despite retaining its advantage in both the drivers' and constructors' championships after second and fourth places at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, Renault has revealed that intends to keep up the pressure on McLaren for race wins.

While Fernando Alonso still enjoys a slightly reduced 24-point advantage over closest rival Kimi Raikkonen, the regie is only nine points clear of its Woking-based rival after Raikkonen and Juan Montoya took points off Alonso and team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella respectively in Istanbul. However, Renault's executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, believes that the team took everything it could have realistically expected from Sunday's race, and would continue to do what it could to stymie McLaren's late challenge.

"I think that the result showed all the strengths of the team," Symonds insisted, "We recognised the potential problems we might have last weekend, reacted to them, and made the absolute best of the situation.

"However, we are certainly concerned about McLaren's pace. On Sunday, we had a good balance on the cars and no specific problem, but there was still a 0.8secs gap to Montoya on similar fuel loads. We are not sure why, but our absolute performance was not too good."

McLaren should, in reality, have secured a 1-2 result in Turkey, but Montoya's late brush with Tiago Monteiro allowed Alonso to close in and, when the Colombian ran off the road for a second time, snatch second place right at the death.

"I think it demonstrates that the best form of defence is attack," Symonds smiled, "That was the lesson we took from Hungary - it showed us that we needed to be adaptable, and to try and take the fight to McLaren. This weekend, we did that and it worked: Montoya was under pressure from Fernando two laps from the end, and he made a mistake. We got the best possible result from the weekend - and that was very satisfying."

'Adaptable' could have been Renault's watch-word for the weekend, as both drivers ran a strategy not often seen in Formula One.

"Yes, we almost ran the race backwards," Symonds confirmed, "We did a short first stint, followed by two longer ones - and it was absolutely the right thing to do. Had we fuelled to lap 20 with our starting slots in qualifying, we would have been further back on the grid - and the race would have become much more complicated..."

Further 'thinking outside the box' may be required in the coming weeks, however, particularly if Renault is to stave off the McLaren threat in the teams' standings. Alonso only needs to secure podium finishes over the remaining five rounds, but the nine-point gap between Renault and McLaren in the constructors' table remains vulnerable.

"Looking in order, Monza is a one-off race and Spa is the type of circuit where McLaren are likely to be quicker than us," Symonds admitted, "But we have a big aerodynamic update coming for Brazil, and engine development is ongoing - every fresh engine contains extra performance developments.

"Monza is a real one-off race - completely different to anything else during the season - but, in recent years, we have run some great races there without a powerful engine. With the RS25, the engine situation is much closer, so I think it could be quite good for us."

McLaren has been warned....

 

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