Renault Sport Formula One Team faced disappointment at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace with Carlos Sainz finishing twelfth and Nico Hülkenberg retiring from the Grande Prêmio Heineken do Brazil.
Both drivers made promising starts at an overcast Interlagos with Carlos passing Nico on the opening lap. Nico’s race didn’t make the halfway mark as excessive engine temperatures meant he was forced into retirement on lap 32 as a precautionary measure. Carlos was able to push to the chequered flag with his two-stop strategy, but he eventually fell short of the points.
• Nico started from P13 on new Pirelli Soft (yellow) tyres, retiring on lap 32.
• Carlos started from P15 on new Soft tyres, pitting on lap 25 for a new set of Medium (white) tyres and again on lap 48 for a new set of Supersoft (red) tyres.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02: Started P13, DNF.
“It was a shame to retire from the race, but the difficult call was made to stop due to excessive engine temperatures. These aren’t healthy for the Power Unit, so it wasn’t worth the risk carrying on. It’s disappointing as I was on a reverse strategy and that would have meant fresher tyres at the end of the race. Other than that, it was fun racing Carlos out there on a couple of occasions. It was close, but we left each other enough room and it was all fair and square. We’ll reset for the finale in Abu Dhabi and we’ll be giving it our all.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-03: Started P15, finished P12.
“We knew coming to Brazil would be a tough weekend and ultimately we weren’t quick enough for points today. We were able to gain three positions after another strong start and had some good, clean battles with Nico and other cars. When the race settled we kept pushing but we just didn’t have the pace so couldn’t make sufficient progress. I wanted more today, so let’s work for that in Abu Dhabi.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal:
“After two good races it is disappointing to have a weekend like we experienced in Brazil. We struggled in qualifying and were unable to gain positions after the start. Neither car was able to harness our race pace which, although better than some of the cars ahead of us, was not sufficient to overtake them. We retired Nico as a precautionary measure due to excessive engine temperatures as we didn’t want to risk losing PU elements ahead of Abu Dhabi; there was little to lose from this approach given his position on track. We tried to make the most with Carlos, however it was insufficient to get us in the points today. This race has highlighted again that we do have a variation in our competitiveness which will be a focal point for the winter. Clearly we need to be more consistent looking to the seasons ahead.”