Renault Sport Formula One Team secured fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship with an outstanding result in today’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz claimed sixth position in the 55-lap race, giving Renault its best result in the championship since its return to Formula 1 in 2016.
The result shows the strong progress of Renault Sport Formula One Team; ninth in 2016, sixth in 2017 and now fourth in the third year of its current incarnation. The team’s 122 points more than doubles last year’s total.
Nico Hulkenberg finishes the season with 69 points and seventh position in the Drivers’ Championship, his best finish to date. Carlos’ season total is 53 points and P10 in the championship.
Carlos started from P11 on the Pirelli Ultrasoft (purple) tyres and fought up to sixth behind the Mercedes, Red Bulls and remaining Ferrari. He pitted for a new set of Supersoft (red) tyres on lap 37, rejoining in sixth.
Nico started from P10 on the Ultrasoft (purple) tyres, but an incident with Romain Grosjean on the first lap pitched him into a series of barrel rolls. He came to rest upside down on the barriers, but left the car uninjured.
Nico Hulkenberg: “It was frustrating to be out of the race so early today and ultimately to finish the season this way having worked so hard with the team all weekend. It looks spectacular when cars flip but luckily it wasn’t a high impact crash. It was a racing incident; I didn’t see Grosjean – I thought that he went off the track and I took the apex, but the tyres touched and I flipped to go upside down. Overall it has been a good positive season for us with strong points. The team got fourth today in the Constructors’ Championship and I got seventh in the Drivers’; on paper, the best season in my career. I am very pleased about the progress we have made this season. It’s been great working with Carlos, he’s been an excellent team-mate. I’ve enjoyed the season a lot and look forward to an even better one next year, also with Daniel joining the team. It will be very exciting.”
Carlos Sainz: “Today was a really great result for us and this sixth place feels a bit like pay back for France and Mexico. We deserve it! I had a very strong pace all the way and it was a perfectly executed race. We achieved fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and it is a very big result for us. This last race of the season firmly demonstrates all the progress made this year. I leave this team feeling very happy with what we’ve achieved and as a driver it makes me especially motivated. This was my last race with the Renault team and I thank everyone for the last year and a half. I’m not leaving the family and look forward to continue to see many of my Renault colleagues as I join McLaren.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: “It’s a great way to finish the season. P4 is where we wanted to be in the championship; it’s a good result and a representation of the fantastic team effort on and off track and from both drivers. The race today is a good summary of our year. We had a disappointing qualifying and difficult first laps, but the team kept its head down and made excellent strategic choices in a race that went in our direction. We were able to take advantage of very strong race pace and managed the lead we had against the others to make sure we got to the end without any incidents. Obviously it was a shame to lose Nico early on, but he’s been a huge contributing element to the season result that we secured today. I’d also like to thank Carlos for all he has done for the team since joining us. He’s been a massive team player and wish him all the best as he joins our partner McLaren next year.”