Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013 – Race

• Pastor Maldonado finished 11th with Valtteri Bottas 15th in today’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
• The team split strategies, with Pastor making a good start on the soft tyre but he was compromised by a slower second pitstop which meant that he wasn’t able to jump the cars he was racing
• Valtteri started on the medium tyre but struggled to get them up to temperature in the first few laps, but showed consistent pace thereafter in what has been an improved performance for the team this weekend.

Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: Pastor had a strong start on the soft option tyre putting him in a good position by the end of lap one. We planned a two-stop strategy with a short opening stint before we switched him onto the prime tyre. As everyone else around us started to pit, we were in a good position during the second stint but wanted to pit for the final set of medium tyres as early as possible. Unfortunately, we were a bit limited with our pitstops again, due to our modified procedures to ensure safety, so we weren’t able to jump everyone we had hoped. The pace of the cars that had one-stopped also didn’t also drop off as much expected towards the end, so although we were close we couldn’t quite get into the points today. Valtteri struggled to get temperature into the prime tyres at the start so lost out on the first lap and his opening stint was compromised. We considered switching to a one-stop but ultimately decided to stick to strategy, and aimed to attack on the new option tyres in the final laps. With his pitstops also compromised, we weren’t quite close enough in the final stint, but overall it was a good performance from both of our drivers today.

Pastor Maldonado: Today was a very tough race from the perspective of trying to manage the tyres, but we managed to cope with it pretty well. I certainly feel that the pace and consistency of the car has improved with the new aero package we ran this weekend and I could feel that the car was improving as the race went on. Unfortunately I came out in to traffic after my second pitstop which meant that I couldn’t really show the improved pace we had, and in the end I had to settle for a finish just outside the points. Overall the weekend has seen some positive steps forward which will give us a boost for the next race.

Valtteri Bottas: I don’t think P15 was really reflective of the pace we had today. My race was compromised by the first lap when I was jumped by the Caterhams who started on the option tyres and so had more grip and were able to overtake me. After the prime tyres started to work my race pace was very good and I was able to fight hard with the cars around me. The positive from this weekend is that the car is feeling better and we have definitely made some gains which is promising for the final two races.

Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader: We seemed to have unleashed some performance earlier in the weekend and came very close to consolidating it with points in the race. Unfortunately we were just outside the top ten this time, but we can take confidence from this for the final two Grands Prix.

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