Race - Malaysian GP report: Renault F1
All four Renault-powered cars finished in the points in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix. After 56 laps of hard-fought racing the two Scuderia Toro Rosso cars passed the flag in seventh and eighth, leading home the Infiniti Red Bull Racing duo, who finished ninth and tenth.
Key race points:
— Max Verstappen became the youngest-ever driver to score points in a Formula 1 race when he brought his Scuderia Toro Rosso home in P7. The 17-year-old started from a superb sixth on the grid and battled with his team-mate, the two Williams and Red Bulls at various stages in the race. Some inspired overtaking moves allowed the Dutchman to collect his first points’ haul just two races into the season.
— Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz had a similarly impressive race. The Spaniard stayed out of the pits during the early safety car period and ran in the top six until his first stop. He graduated back up the field, likewise engaged in a tight fight with the Williams and Red Bulls before his second stop. He was passed by Verstappen seven laps from the end but held off the two Red Bulls until the flag.
— Daniil Kvyat finished in P9 for Infiniti Red Bull Racing. The Russian was bottled up behind the Force India of Hulkenberg around one third of the race, but as he attempted to pass he got punted onto the grass. Hulkenberg was handed a penalty, but Kvyat had already dropped down the order. He fought back to P10 and passed team-mate Ricciardo on lap 53.
— Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line in P10. He also lost time behind the Force India and eventually ceded one place to Kvyat just before the end of the race.
Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations
Four cars in the points after one of the toughest races of the year shows the amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes in the last two weeks. Driveability has been reasonably levelled up, and the drivers could clearly explore the potential of their cars. Absolute performance can be and will be improved while we are some way behind the front of the pack. We clearly have some potential in hand and improving reliability will allow us to get closer in the near future. We’ll work hard with Toro Rosso and Red Bull to make sure we’re maximizing this potential. Finally, congrats to Max for his impressive race and his first points and a special bravo to Sebastian for his victory.
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director
We said after Melbourne that we needed to react to the problems, but not overreact and we can see that the measures and countermeasures put in place since then have played dividends here. Engine-wise we are much more where we should have been in Australia. Reliability has globally been good – as it should be – and the improvements to driveability have allowed the teams to focus on the set-ups and see where the true performance of the cars is at the moment. Finishing one lap behind the leaders isn’t where we need to be, but now we have very clear targets. Ferrari has done a great job in the last few months, it shows that Mercedes can be caught if all the ingredients are there. We need to focus on our job, play the long game and keep pushing every time we hit the track.