Highs and lows for Renault Sport as hectic F1 schedule continues in Canada and Baku

The Renault Sport Formula One Team experienced a May full of mixed emotions, the month starting positively with a first points finish since its return to the sport but then ending with a frustrating double retirement from F1’s ‘blue riband’ Monaco round.
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The points were achieved by Kevin Magnussen who took a splendid seventh-place finish in Sochi’s Russian Grand Prix in only the squad’s fourth race back in F1.

The Dane then secured the team’s first appearance in ‘Q2’ during qualifying for the following Spanish GP – a race which also saw British team-mate Jolyon Palmer put in the strongest performance to date in his debut F1 season with a 13-place finish, just ahead of Magnussen.

A follow-up test in Spain produced more encouraging results as Magnussen and team reserve driver, Frenchman Esteban Ocon, completed 227 laps of the Barcelona track inside two days made further improvements both the power unit and chassis of the team’s R.S.16 racer.

There was an air of optimism therefore heading to Monte Carlo where Magnussen again got through to Q2 in qualifying. The following day’s race through the principality’s streets, however, did not end on a happy note…

On a wet track Palmer lost control of his R.S.16 and crashed out early on. Magnussen would also retire after a skirmish with Toro Ross’s Daniil Kvyat and then brush of his own against a wall which damaged his car.

Magnussen said: “We had a good start to the race and made a really good strategic call to change to the intermediate tyres just after the safety car. We were the only ones to do it so early and it was the right decision. We were in a good position as a lot of people were still to pit and we gained a lot of places. Unfortunately, Kvyat just lost his mind and crashed into me and that was effectively the end of my race.

“Now we have to shift our focus to Canada and have a better weekend there. Montréal should be a stronger track for us and should play to the strengths of the updates for the car.”

Palmer added: “The traction was appalling after the safety car and I got caught out. I had wheelspin in fifth gear on the white line that crosses the track. There was nothing I could do – I was just a passenger and went straight away into the wall.

“But I’m now looking forward to Canada and putting this weekend behind me. Monaco hasn’t been good to me this year so we need to move on to the next race and look for a better weekend.”

Indeed after three grands prix inside a month the team’s hectic F1 schedule continues with the next race – on the other side of the Atlantic around Montreal’s famous Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – coming just two weeks after Monaco (12 June).

Immediately there’s then a rush back towards Europe for F1’s first race in Azerbaijan – the Grand Prix of Europe – to be held just seven days later in the country’s capital city of Baku (19 June).