Abiteboul believes the Renault car has "more pace" than it shown in Melbourne

20-03-2019 11:24
by Bobby Vincent
General
Abiteboul believes the Renault car has more pace than it shown in Melbourne

Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul believes the team's car has "much more pace" than it managed to show in the opening race of the season in Australia on Sunday.

Abiteboul admitted he was left confused about some of Renault's problems over the weekend. Nico Hulkenberg suffered an electrical issue in FP1 on Friday, before a seat-belt problem impacted Daniel Ricciardo in FP2.

Both cars were subsequently knocked out of Q2 - qualifying 11th and 12th - with Hulkenberg a place ahead of the Aussie at his home circuit.

The German started brilliantly and quickly climbed up to eighth on the grid - but for Ricciardo, he hit the grass and his front wing came off meaning the Renault debutant had to pit at the end of the first lap.

The RS19 was in no fit state to continue the race, despite Ricciardo determined to carry on - and the Aussie had to retire early from the grand prix.

"We're leaving Australia with mixed feelings and a contrast of positives and negatives," Abiteboul explained. "The main negative was qualifying, where we had a number of issues that impacted our potential and starting position.

"That made Daniel's first race very complex and we tried to recover positions at the start but we ultimately had to retire his car due to the damage. Nico managed to turn around the situation and had a very strong race. He was very smart and drove a good race to finish seventh.

"We know the car has much more pace than we have shown, especially in qualifying, and it will be the priority of the next race to extract more from the initial platform with a smoother execution across the weekend while we work on our planned upgrades."

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