A month or so ago, Grace and I discussed the 2010 preview of Renault. While cautious, I was encouraged by what I saw in winter testing and the good news getting better after post-sale to Genii Capital. New sponsors, new team boss, new drivers and as it turns out, new performance.
Today’s Malaysian Grand Prix saw Renault place themselves squarely in the role as the 5th team or “best of the rest”. At 30 points, the team has found another hero in driver Robert Kubica and today’s spirited performance from Russian Vitaly Petrov was nothing to be overlooked. The team has found new pace and while Petrov suffered reliability issues, Kubica finished a strong 4th place to show just how serious Renault are about not fading away. Kubica said:
â€œIt was another enjoyable race and the car was consistent with good pace all afternoon. The start of the race was really important because I managed to get ahead of Hulkenberg into turn 1, and then I got a good exit out of turn 2, which helped me overtake Sutil. After that I managed to build a good gap to the cars behind me, but we didnâ€™t have the pace to catch Rosberg. Fourth place is a good result and gives us some more important points.â€
I share team boss Eric Boullier’s excitement and realistic view of today’s performance but with just 14 points separating Renault from Mercedes GP in 4th place, Renault may just be starting their march toward the front once again. And this time, it’s not with Fernando Alonso.
â€œTo finish fourth with Robert is another great result for the team. Obviously we benefited from our good qualifying performance yesterday and Robert made a good start to the race. After that he drove very well and the car showed good pace. Vitaly also made progress at the start, drove aggressively in the opening laps, and had a good fight with Hamilton. Itâ€™s a real shame he had to retire because I think he could have scored his first points today.â€