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Double points delight for Renault in China

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
© XPB 

The Renault Sport F1 team brought home both cars in the points at the conclusion of an eventful Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday.

Nico Hulkenberg started from seventh place on the grid for the sixth race in succession. He went on to cross the line in sixth place after a late pass on Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

"Eight points!" he said after the race. "We’ll take that home. It was an entertaining one, that’s for sure!

"Everyone seemed to have low grip at the start, with cars sliding all over the place," he recalled. "We were on a two-stop strategy from the beginning. We had to make the tyre last, while maintaining strong pace."

Hulkenberg made his first stop on lap 13, which dropped him down to 13th place. However the fresh tyres meant he was quickly working his way back through the positions.

His second stop was helped by a safety car scrambled following a clash between the Toro Rosso cars, which left debris strewn over the track at the hairpin.

"The safety car played to our hands and made things easier," Hulkenberg admitted. "But even without the safety car I think we would have come out on top.

"The pace was good today and we were on top of the midfield, so not a bad day overall."

The result means that Hulkenberg is in seventh place in the drivers championship, tied on points with Fernando Alonso.

His team mate Carlos Sainz also had a solid day, finishing the race in ninth place behind Vettel's limping Ferrari.

"It was really close with Vettel," the Spanish racer said. "Had there been another lap I would have had him.

"On my last stint, traffic behind Alonso and Magnussen degraded my tyres too much," he added. "I had to save them in order to have a better opportunity at the end of the race."

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul was also very satisfied with the day's work, which maintains Renault in fifth place in the constructors championship and halves the gap to McLaren.

"Today was obviously a good day for the team which shows we are gaining in maturity," he said. "The team is building and getting stronger across the board.

"We had decent starting positions with both cars in the top ten, but that actually put us in a difficult position with our race strategy.

"We knew we would have to do two stops when the competitors around us were in a position to complete the race with one," he noted.

"But thanks to a strong first lap and many very clean overtaking moves from our drivers, we made that work."

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