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Renault engine boss Cyril Abiteboul has apologised to Jolyon Palmer following his retirement from Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The Briton, who was due to start from 11th on the grid — his second highest qualifying position of the year — was forced out of his home race before it had even begun when he suffered a hydraulic leak on the formation lap.
Palmer is yet to register a point for Renault this season and is under growing pressure amid speculation he could be about to lose his Formula One race seat mid-season. Despite Palmer’s lacklustre start to 2017, Abiteboul says he has no doubts his driver would have been able to finish inside the points had the issue not occurred.
“We have to say sorry to Jo as he finally had the starting position he needed and we all wanted him to get those first points today,” Abiteboul said. “He almost certainly would have made it if we hadn’t had the problem.”
Nico Hulkenberg put in a superb drive to seal sixth place and match Renault’s best result of the year so far, despite losing power deployment in the closing stages at Silverstone. The German has scored all of the team’s 26 points this year, as it closed to within three points of seventh-placed Haas in the constructors’ standings.
“We had a great race with Nico. He drove very well, with no mistakes, good strategy execution and we were a good thirty seconds ahead of both Force Indias. There is always a bit of frustration to be so exposed to reliability weaknesses as we could have done even better today, but what is important is that the upgrades have worked well and we are delighted to see this bear out in the results. With more to come in the coming races I hope we can keep the momentum going to end the first part of the season on a high.”