Renault Sport Formula One Team secured its best-ever finish since its return to Formula 1 in today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. In an exceptional, incident-filled race Carlos Sainz finished in fifth position; the first time Renault has finished in the top five since resuming the sport in 2016.
Nico Hülkenberg had a bittersweet race; starting fourteenth on the grid the German had a strong start and quickly moved up the field to challenge Carlos in the top five. Unfortunately, after the safety car, he went wide at turn four and hit the wall, damaging the car’s suspension and retiring from the race.
Renault Sport Formula One Team retains fifth in the constructors’ championship, but has closed the gap to fourth-placed McLaren to just one point.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02: Started P14, DNF
“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.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-01: Started P9, finished P5
“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.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“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.”