Renault defends Monaco strategy call that left Carlos Sainz Jr 'bitter'

The Renault Formula 1 team has defended the strategy that left Carlos Sainz Jr feeling "very bitter" after the Monaco Grand Prix

Renault defends Monaco strategy call that left Carlos Sainz Jr 'bitter'

Sainz questioned Renault's decision to fit ultrasoft tyres at his sole pitstop during the Monte Carlo F1 race, after he regressed from eighth on the grid to finish a distant 10th.

Sainz finished more than 40 seconds behind team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who started outside the top 10 but was allowed through by Sainz as the Spaniard struggled for speed.

Sainz was convinced he should have gone to supersoft rather than the ultrasoft tyres at his stop, given there were still 62 laps to the flag, and suggested the team was too optimistic with its predictions for tyre performance.

But Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul defended the original decision.

"I think moving to supersoft rather than ultrasoft would have been even worse towards the end," Abiteboul said.

"At the time we were doing it, it was maybe not clear why we were doing it, but towards the end it was clear that it was the right thing to do.

"We saw again that it's so difficult to read into these tyres - it was looking like we were going to have a very, very difficult race with Nico, and suddenly the tyres came back to life."

The two Renault drivers were on different strategies thanks to Sainz being committed to starting on the unfancied hypersofts after making Q3, while Hulkenberg started on ultrasoft and ran much longer in the first stint thanks to qualifying outside the top 10 and having free choice of tyres for the start.

"We could see that with our cars and those tyres it was better to start 11th than start P10, or even P8 for Carlos," Abiteboul said.

"That's also a factor for our car, because for some cars, like [Pierre] Gasly [Toro Rosso], like [Esteban] Ocon [Force India], they managed to make that strategy [of starting on hypersoft] work.

"We had no real alternative other than that strategy for Carlos."

While Sainz played down the significance of Renault's instruction for him to allow Hulkenberg through, Abiteboul said it was important for the team to recognise the Spaniard's cooperation.

"It was a very difficult race for him, he also had to let Nico past, so Nico could execute his race," he added.

"It's so difficult to appreciate what's going on in that situation, but I'm sure when he [Sainz] will watch the race in replay he will understand.

"But again we will have a discussion, and the team needs to appreciate what he's done, and we need to keep that in our heads for the future.

"There is more to learn and to understand from this type of situation."

shares
comments
How Ricciardo eclipsed a Schumacher classic

Previous article

How Ricciardo eclipsed a Schumacher classic

Next article

Bottas: Toro Rosso better than us on hypersoft in Monaco Grand Prix

Bottas: Toro Rosso better than us on hypersoft in Monaco Grand Prix
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Adam Cooper
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021