Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul, has said he is not ashamed that McLaren has proven to be their biggest rival in Formula 1 this season, but feels they are still better than them on race days.
After finishing best of the rest in 2018, there was an expectation that Renault, bolstered by the signing of Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull, would push even further ahead at the top of the midfield pack and start bringing to the top three more into their sights.
But that has failed to materialise, and Renault instead look set to lose their best of the crown to their one and only customer team.
However, Abiteboul has no shame in the fact that they have been fighting McLaren this year and feels Renault are actually better than them come Sunday.
“It is a fact that McLaren has done a better car, a better chassis than we have,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
“I am not ashamed of fighting against McLaren. They are still a fantastic team and a great name in F1.
“They [McLaren] are way faster than us on Saturday in qualifying, at least half a second, but on Sundays for some reason we are much closer and better than them actually.
“It was the case in the USA, in Mexico and it was also the case in Suzuka, even though it was not so visible because of the starting position and strategy, and also what happened after the race.
“So we know where to focus. But having said, we know that qualifying is where the actual pace and limitation of the car are shown.
“Our car has fundamentally some characteristics that are not pleasant when you are pushing it to the maximum. But in the race, when you are starting to manage, then things are much nicer.”
McLaren hold a 38-point advantage over Renault for the P4 spot in the Constructors’ Championship with just two races left in the season.