Lap time watch: Renault make huge gains in Singapore

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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The progress Renault has made with its car since last year was demonstrated clearly in Singapore, where the RS17 lapped almost six seconds quicker than its predecessor did 12 months ago.

Singapore GP qualifying in pictures
Nico Hulkenberg qualified ‘best of the rest’ behind the big three teams with a lap of 1’41.013. That was 5.8 seconds quicker than the team’s best qualifier last year.

The huge scale of their gain can be seen below. Ferrari made the next-biggest step from 2016 to 2017 but the improvement was a comparatively smaller 4s by comparison. However as Ferrari had a car in Q3 last year, this comparison will flatter Renault slightly.

McLaren have lowered their lap times by 3.3 seconds compared to last year which is the third-best of any team. However they are so unimpressed with the progress Honda has made they announced yesterday they won’t use the Japanese manufacturers’ engines in 2018.

At the tail end of the grid it has been another poor weekend for Williams and Sauber. The latter are less than a second quicker than they were 12 months ago.

After the blip of Monza, where very wet conditions on Saturday meant we never saw the full extent of the cars’ capabilities, another track record fell in Singapore this weekend.

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It was the biggest improvement yet, as Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time lowered the previous mark by three seconds.

Unlike most other tracks on the calendar the current configuration of the Singapore track had only been used twice before.

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Lap time watch: Renault make huge gains in Singapore”

  1. So when assessing the cars’ improvement by trying to eliminate the driver-change factor (in using the driver who drove for Renault both this and last season), they are still at 4 seconds improvement and joined best with Ferrari. I’m beginning to buy into Renault itself making actual progress with the car.

    1. Do not forget the car in 2016 was a total mess. They had to adopt it for the renault engine and the development was halted earlier . So gaining speed was not that hard. Nevertheless impressed by the HULK

  2. Why aren’t the top teams scrambling to sign Hulk? Who is his manager?

    1. Because they has their chance and now he has a multi year contract with a works team.

      Shockingly poor gains from Mercedes there, they really can’t wrap their head around this track.

  3. Would have been interesting to see Mercedes’ gains had they instead developed a shorter wheelbased car this year.

    1. you cant compare short to long wheel base, everything else around the car is changed also… so in reality, Mercedes gains would probably be the same as the same amount of work would have gone into a different concept. it is also just an incomprehensible thing to try to consider… what the lap time difference would have been, at the end of the day this is the car they have so forget ifs and buts as that can apply to every team.

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