The Renault Sport F1 Team had a fantastic Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on Sunday. The Enstone based outfit were extremely competitive throughout the race fighting with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and indeed the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Starting the race from seventh place on the grid, Carlos Sainz scored his best result since the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix and not only that but the Spaniard also scored Renault’s best result since returning to Formula One as a works team with a brilliant drive to fifth place.
The performance on Sunday was a great foundation for Sainz to build on particularly as the next race is his home event, the Spanish Grand Prix. Speaking following the Baku event, Sainz said:
It’s a very strong result for the team. I’m very happy and it was a really fun race, as always in Baku. It was crazy out there as the grip was difficult today. The first stint was very strong and I was able to overtake both Red Bulls on track. Then, the soft tyre was trickier for us and in the end we had to battle for that fifth place. It is positive for the team to go into Europe in a strong place in the Championship. I need to keep working hard with my engineers to keep building the car to my liking and to keep the points coming. Next stop is Spain and I really look forward to it
Sainz’s team mate Nico Hulkenberg also had an extremely strong race until he hit the wall and was forced to retire from the race. Speaking following the event the German commented by saying:
It’s wild and just crazy here as it’s so tight. We started well but I just lost the rear end at the end of turn four and that was my race done really. I had some rear locking going into that corner and the wind was difficult and it didn’t take much to throw me off. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is sometimes. Let’s look forward to Spain.
The result on Sunday means that Renault are now just one point behind McLaren Renault in the race for fourth place in the championship and speaking following Sunday’s action packed event, Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul commented by saying:
We were not sure what to expect for this race, but fifth for Carlos is a great result, our best since returning to the sport two years ago. We have to admit it came in exceptional circumstances, but it is very positive. Carlos drove a very mature race, managing his tyres well, and fighting with multiple cars throughout the race. It is very encouraging to look at how the grid has changed since last year; the gap to Red Bull and from the Renault engine to the rest of the field is obvious evidence of all the progress we have made and continue to make every weekend. Nico had some misfortune, but it was his only mistake last year and if it has to be his only mistake again this year, he will be more than forgiven. Overall a very good weekend; as a team we scored another handful of points and more than McLaren, so the deficit is now very close as we head towards Europe.