Cars, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Beating McLaren getting “more and more difficult” for Renault, says Hulkenberg

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In the round-up: Nico Hulkenberg is concerned Renault won’t be able to beat McLaren to fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

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What they say

McLaren out-scored Renault again in Russia, pulling 33 points ahead of them with five rounds remaining:

Obviously we lost points again, I don’t know what the gap is not maybe 30. But yeah it’s a lot of wood. And obviously every race that goes by and we don’t outscore them it gets obviously more and more difficult.

Whilst we want to fight in the championship we need to focus race by race and just try to get everything out of it, stay clean and smooth and I think that’s all we can do for now.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Jim offers an interpretation of the developing tensions at Ferrari:

At Monza Leclerc clearly didn’t follow team orders during qualifying. We know this because of the comment at the end of the race when all was forgiven.

Then Vettel gets a win because Ferrari gave him the undercut. (payback for Monza?) Ferrari shows up in Russia thinking that each driver is in a good place as they each have recent wins.

In order to keep the harmony Ferrari comes up with an agreement for the start in order to hold off Mercedes. Unfortunately the agreement went right into the bin by the end of lap one . They started 1-3, hoping for a 1-2 finish and end up with a 3-and a DNF. Very ugly and I don’t know how they are going to convince Leclerc to trust Vettel on the track.
Jim from US (@Jimfromus)

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24 comments on “Beating McLaren getting “more and more difficult” for Renault, says Hulkenberg”

  1. If I could preempt 2020’s silly season on a baselless rumor, I would say that Leclerc agents are asking Mclaren: Can you tell me more about that new engine you are getting in a few months?
    McClerc might be closer than imagined.

    1. John Ballantine
      2nd October 2019, 2:01

      Nothing baseless about Maiagus’ tip, a lot of drivers will be thinking the same thing and I think that Ricciardo will be at the top of that list.

    2. Well may I add this totally unsubstantiated rumor to the mill. With Jos Verstappen making noises about Max getting frustrated with the lack of progress at RB. Perhaps a ‘shock’ move by the young Verstappen is being contemplated?

      1. Ferrari with Max and Leclerc, you heard it here first!

        1. I wonder if the lacklustre season SV is (not) enjoying is bad enough to trigger an exit clause from his contract. 1 win and no chance of the title is probably not what they had in mind for this stage of the season. MV probably did not have such lofty expectations in his get-out clauses, so I imagine he’s staying put for the time being.

      2. The scarlet team can barely contain Leclerc and vettel, imagine the fireworks if they had both max and charles. Their best bet would be dan and Charles.

    3. I’m still in a delusion that Vettel will go back to RBR for 2020 and Hulk will get the Ferrari seat as a solid #2 driver.

  2. Nico Hulkenberg is concerned Renault won’t be able to beat McLaren to fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

    Yeah I don’t think Renault will be able to catch McLaren this yr. Overall I think Renault have had a pretty bad yr despite some improvements. it seems McLaren have been able to take more advantage of the increased power with a better sorted chassis. As for next yr I believe a lot of changes made at Renault are still flowing through but no one is standing still.

    1. Further to that I’d imagine that both teams are focusing on their 2020 cars. Yes that will still mean potential upgrades for this year given that there’s no major changes for next year, but I suspect Renault may have to make some major chassis changes that could only be brought in at the end of the season given their apparent deficit.

      I don’t see them making up the ground unless Mclaren have a lot of “mysterious” PU issues.

    2. Yup. With the gap being 33 points, Renault needs some good luck and/or consistently being best-of-the-rest. Makes it harder to close the gap if the top six places are pretty much locked out.

    3. Just imagine what mclaren could be doing if they hadn’t hired the best driver available for a team who were 15th place material.

  3. One of the reasons Alonso originally went to McLaren was that they did in-season development and Renault … not so much. Seems that some things don’t change.
    Given the recent surge at Ferrari and the mixed results at Hass, some are better at it than others.

  4. Yes, overhauling Mclaren in the WCC is indeed getting harder and harder with the gap being as significant as it is at the moment. Renault hasn’t really been able to close the gap, every time they have, it’s just gone back up the following race.

    The COTD brings up interesting points, but I don’t think trust is going to be too great of a problem from now on over the remaining five race-weekends, but we shall wait and see.

  5. although COTD’s conclusion @jimfromus is half right IMO(or rather one half of the right conclusion) I disagree with the rest especially regarding Singapore. How’s it “payback” for Monza if everyone but loony conspiracy theorists agree that ferrari did not intend to put Vettel ahead of Leclerc with the undercut as it was supposed at best case scenario to put him ahead of Hamilton but primarily to protect him from impending undercut by Verstappen? So in no meaningful way is it equal to Monza situation. Also with the way the start unfolded in Sochi both drivers can feel they’re in the right(as with Vettel blinding start he believes he didn’t need Leclerc help while Leclerc feels that without the agreement he would’ve defended harder) , same as Monza(where Vettel believed
    Leclerc hadn’t reciprocated his tow, while Leclerc could argue that it wasn’t his fault since all the mess was caused by others). To sum it up, there can never be a 1-1 all is even, done, and forgotten in situations like this even if ferrari really meant to put Vettel in front of leclerc at Singapore, which they hadn’t.

    So I believe neither of these drivers will ever be able to trust the other again. Not just Leclerc>Vettel but also vice versa. Hence your last sentence is just half of the right conclusion.

    And it’s inevitable when there are two drivers vying for supremacy in the team that they can never trust each other. The one guy you absolutely must beat is your teammate. It’s only when you have an alfa male and a subservient wingman lapdog teammate like Bottas is to Hamilton that you can have trust. So bring your popcorn and watch the fireworks!

  6. Gravel is still useful in motogp. Salom’s death could have been avoided by the use of gravel, in the end he hit the barrier too hard and was then collected by his bike.
    Frankly hybrid runoff tarmac and then gravel do make total sense for motogp, at high speed you skip on the tarmac then if you reach the end of the runoff you are stopped by the gravel.
    Riders don’t like gravel, gravel rash is nasty and then there’s Rainey’s accident. The baked gravel in misanos old t1 was most likely the factor in rainey’s injury, didn’t look like a serious accident but he stopped really abruptly and awkwardly.

  7. That’s an interesting photograph. I thought that the halo was a standardized part, the same on all cars, but clearly it is not.

    1. The halo is a standard part, but the (small) fairings the teams are allowed to cover them in are not.

      1. Thats not what the photo shows.

        1. what you are seeing in the photo is just plastic cover design. The metal part is the same

  8. From the track limits article: “But if they didn’t gain an advantage, they certainly avoided a disadvantage because all they need do to avoid [leaving the track] is feather the throttle, which obviously slows them down.”

    This is what F1 stewards need to understand. Cutting a corner to avoid being overtaken should be penalised even if the race order is unchanged.

    1. I agree, i dont know why they dont use that as a penalty, to just give the place to the guy behind and then race for it again. That would be easier for the spectators to follow and it would be a fair penalty. A certain incident early in the season would greatly have benefited from such a penalty instead of a time penalty.

      1. @maisch or the driver could act like an actual sportsman in those sorts of incidents and give the place to the following driver who abided by the rules and the limits of the track. Part of the issue is that a sense of sportsmanship and decency went out of the window sometime around the 70’s in F1.

        1. Yeah so true, there even has to be a penalty for drivers etc calling stewards whatever ugly words they can come up with. It feels closer to raising small kids sometimes, more than handling grown up sportsmen.

  9. Who will replace Vettel at Ferrari to become Leclerc’s new teammate? Come on, it’s inevitable; if not next year then then the year after. There is no way Vettel is going to stick around to be regularly beaten.

    So who will it be, do you think?

    I think they will go for someone who will be strong but a clear number 2.

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