Sochi demonstrated ‘clear progress’ for Renault

Jamie Woodhouse

Mercedes are to run their cars without DAS during practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Friday in readiness for next year when the system is banned.

Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul was delighted with a double-points finish at the Russian GP and said their “year-on-year” progress is clear.

The French manufacturer returned to Formula 1 in 2016, and despite a strong season in 2018 where they finished P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, there is no denying that the team have made solid gains in 2020.

Although they are yet to score a podium in Formula 1 since returning, Renault are now consistently around that conversation and came close courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo at Spa and Mugello.

The Aussie had another strong showing at the Russian Grand Prix with a career-best P5 finish, while team-mate Esteban Ocon crossed the line P7 to ensure Renault left the Sochi Autodrom with 16 points.

“The weekend has delivered a strong team result with 16 points added to the Constructors’ Championship,” Abiteboul told the Renault website.

“We felt since Friday morning that we could achieve that sort of position and it’s good to have done that. Obviously, you always want more, but the four cars that finished ahead of Daniel deserved to be where they are.

“We knew we would be under the threat of the cars starting outside the top ten and that’s exactly what happened with Leclerc and Kvyat. But Daniel was really impressive in building the required gap to Leclerc to absorb the five-second penalty from going deep into Turn 2 when we swapped the cars to mitigate the time lost behind Vettel.

“Esteban, on his side, struggled a bit more with grip at times during the race, but was remarkable in defending from Kvyat for more than 20 laps and contributed to the overall team achievement.

“We leave Sochi with 99 points after 10 races, which is more than what we scored last year over a 21-race season, which is a clear demonstration of the team’s progression, year on year. It’s also closer than ever to the two teams ahead and it’s going to be a very exciting fight with both of them to the end of the season.”

Get your hands on the official Renault 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

Renault move on to the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring P5 in the Constructors’ Championship, but the gap to Racing Point ahead is now down to only five points.

McLaren are then just two points further up the road in P3.

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