Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul admits the French manufacturer’s target of fifth place in the 2017 Formula 1 world constructors' championship now looks a tough proposition having conceded further ground to its rivals at the Mexican Grand Prix.

After Renault was forced into a double retirement due to engine issues at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, it was powerless to stop Lance Stroll deliver sixth place for Williams to extend the points gap between the two teams to 28 points with two races to go, while Toro Rosso held on to sixth place with Renault in seventh.

Renault almost slipped back to eighth in the F1 world constructors’ championship after ex-driver Kevin Magnussen’s eighth place in Mexico put Haas one point behind the French squad but Abiteboul still has confidence in its raw pace with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr despite conceding the points deficit could be too great to meet its 2017 targets.

“This season we set ourselves the goal of fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, whilst achieving this is still mathematically possible, it is now a tall order after a race where we didn’t score points,” Abiteboul said.

“Mexico highlighted our performance potential. Both cars sadly retired, however the two cars reached Q3 and lined up seventh and eighth on the grid and were in fourth and fifth at the end of the first lap. Points were clearly within our reach.

“There are now two Grands Prix remaining. We will do everything we can to be sixth at the end of the weekend.”

Since the summer break Renault has scored just three points finishes – shared equally between Hulkenberg, Sainz and former driver Jolyon Palmer – while Williams has seen at least one car finish in the points in every race in the same period.

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