Renault see Canada as a launch pad but Brawn still concerned by gap

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Renault hopes the performance at the Canadian Grand Prix can be a launch pad for their progression towards the front.

Both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg were able to fight with Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen with their softer tyres during the first stint of Sunday's race in Montreal.

And while ultimately the pace of the Mercedes and Red Bull proved too much later on in the race, it did offer the French manufacturer a first experience of fighting with the top teams.

“This weekend is no more than the blueprint we set ourselves as an objective and the demonstration that we are able to achieve it,” team boss Cyril Abiteboul said.

“We need it to continue in the upcoming races and Daniel’s sixth position and Nico’s seventh, the best possible results at this stage under normal conditions, restart our season.

“The drivers were faultless all over the weekend," he noted. "Daniel was exceptional in his qualifying lap, he gave us all a smile nearly as wide as his!

“The rest of the team executed everything impeccably giving us confidence back while also not forgetting errors made at the beginning of the season.

“We remain very concentrated and conscious of the work there is left to do.”

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Even F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn was encouraged by Renault's showing, suggesting it showed "light at the end of the tunnel" towards their eventual goal of challenging for wins and titles.

However, he was also alarmed by the fact both Ricciardo and Hulkenberg still finished over a lap down on the leading trio.

"Formula 1 needs the teams to be more closely matched – something we are working on as we head into the final stages of producing regulations for 2021 and beyond," he explained.

"But in the meantime, it's great to see that a prestigious manufacturer squad such as Renault is beginning to see some reward for all its effort.

"Ricciardo's fourth place in qualifying is definitely a good sign, and a good race performance from the Australian, in which he treated us to a great but all too brief battle with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas," Brawn added.

"We now head to the team's home race at Paul Ricard, which will surely give them even more motivation."