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Renault "reasonably pleased" in "nip and tuck" midfield

Written by  Apr 23, 2018

Renault technical director Bob Bell believes the Enstone team should be "reasonably pleased" with their position in the pecking order in what he described as a "nip and tuck" midfield.

This season, the French manufacturer was expected to continue their strong progress up the grid, after ending last year arguably as the fourth fastest team. Instead, they find themselves as perhaps the most consistent midfield team, featuring in the top 10 in all sessions.

While admitting "disappointment" that the gap to the front has if anything grown over the winter, Bell admits their barometer with one team is offering optimism.

"I think we are reasonably pleased with how we have positioned ourselves to McLaren, which we were very worried about when they came on board with the engine," he admitted to ESPN.

"It’s going to be nip and tuck with them all season, McLaren are going to develop — McLaren are very good at developing to recover any losses from the start. It’s going to be really close fought.

"We had hoped to be a little bit further ahead at the start but this isn’t an exact science and we know we can do a good development job in season." 

It isn't just the Woking-based team though that Renault have their eye on.

"Clearly, Toro Rosso and Haas have done a great job over the winter and are making life very difficult for us," Bell added.

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The performances of Nico Hulkenberg are also getting attention, with the German eclipsing on-loan teammate Carlos Sainz in the early stages.

"At the moment I do feel with all the seasons I’ve done, the experience, probably I’m doing amongst the best driving that I’ve ever produced," he commented. "So far I’m happy, but don’t praise the season too soon."

Asked why he feels his pace is particularly good with five straight points results since Brazil last year, the 'Hulk' added: "I think I feel pretty confident and happy, and these cars now with more downforce since last year’s generation of cars, probably it favours me more."

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