27/09/2019

Monza magic: F1 team on a high after major result

As we went to press the Renault Formula 1 Team was heading to its next race in Singapore on a massive high after celebrating its best result since returning to the sport.
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Drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg finished fourth and fifth in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza to move Renault back into fifth in the Constructors’ standings.

The result earned the team 22 points, moving it to within 18 of fourth placed McLaren which also uses Renault’s engines.

It is the best result for Renault in F1 since Fernando Alonso won the Japanese GP in 2008 for the team.

Furthermore, the result was fully justified after Ricciardo and Hülkenberg had qualified their R.S.19s fifth and seventh on the Monza grid.

The fact it came at Monza – the fastest circuit on the calendar with several long straights – also demonstrated the progress that Renault’s technicians and engineers have made with the development of their engines.

Notably, Ricciardo in fourth was only ten seconds behind World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton’s third-placed Mercedes at the chequered flag. Ricciardo and Hülkenberg also finished in front of both Red Bull cars and Sebastien Vettel’s Ferrari.

Singapore’s GP (20-22 September) marks a return to the long haul ‘fly away’ races for F1 that make up the remainder of 2019’s calendar.

The race, held at night on a twisting, Armco-lined, floodlit circuit around Singapore’s streets, is one of the most demanding of the year for both drivers and mechanics.

From there, Renault’s F1 team and its cars will quickly be on their way to Russia for the next event which gets under way a mere five days later at another street circuit in Sochi (27-29 Sept). There will then be only a fortnight before the Japanese GP at the fabled Suzuka circuit (11-13 Oct).

Looking ahead to Singapore, Ricciardo enthused: “The circuit is long and busy. You have to get close to the exit walls and sometimes you’re there holding your breath a bit. I have always enjoyed racing at street circuits. It’s a feeling of being absolutely on it, close to the edge and it’s an awesome feeling.

“We deserved the double top five finish in Italy. We know now there will be eyes on us to repeat that, but I can see no reason why we can’t string together more solid results and really chase down fourth place. The challenge excites me."

Hülkenberg said: “Singapore is probably the most physical race of the season. A lap is very busy at the wheel, extremely physical and tiring. It’s a long circuit with corners coming thick and fast without many straights to have a rest.”

He added: “The team left Italy on a real high. The whole weekend was a super effort from everyone… We’ve made a big swing in the Constructors’ championship and the race for fourth is on. We have to develop this now and aim to pick up these kinds of results more regularly. It’s certainly possible and we won’t be letting up."