Japanese Grand Prix Race
• Pastor Maldonado finished 16th with Valtteri Bottas 17th in today’s Japanese Grand Prix.
• Both drivers had a solid start and drove a good race with a lot of midfield battles taking place.
• Pastor overtook Valtteri on the last lap to secure sixteenth position.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: It was a good clean start and first lap from both drivers. We were racing the Toro Rosso’s and the Force India’s and aiming for a two-stop strategy. We stuck to strategy but needed to be more aggressive in the second stint to keep them behind so in the end we weren’t able to hold them off. Ultimately our pace wasn’t good enough. This circuit is hard on tyres and our tyre life was on the limit so we couldn’t pit any earlier than we did otherwise we risked not making it to the end of the race. Valtteri and Pastor therefore ended up racing each other, and after Valtteri had been ahead for the majority of the race, Pastor found a way through in the final chicane of the last lap.
Pastor Maldonado: It was pleasing to be able to make a move on the last lap to gain a position over my teammate. I felt we got the strategy slightly wrong today and we were struggling with the pace a bit, but we did manage to get 100% out of the car.
Valtteri Bottas: At the beginning of the race we didn’t look too bad and managed to keep some cars behind us. At the end of the second stint and into the third stint our pace seemed to drop off and we weren’t able to keep our positions. As the tyres wore out at the end we did struggle a bit, so unfortunately we couldn’t fight anymore.
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader: We made some progress this weekend and had a good result in qualifying so P16 and P17 is disappointing for all our efforts. Suzuka is always a hard race and unfortunately it was a very tough one for us today. We hope for more in India and for the remainder of the season.