Romain Grosjean finished in twelfth position and Pastor Maldonado fourteenth after an eventful first night Bahrain Grand Prix. Both drivers completed the race at the Bahrain International Circuit without reliability issues and the E22 showed improved relative pace following yesterday’s qualifying.
Most attention however went to several incidents, as first Jean-Eric Vergne accused a 'crazy Lotus driver' from pushing him off track on the first lap, while later on, Pastor Maldonado hit Esteban Gutierrez, causing a DNF for the Sauber driver and a ten second stop and go penalty for Maldonado. Pastor served that penalty on lap 47.
Romain Grosjean, P12, E22-03: “It's good that we didn't have any problems during the weekend and we were able to finish the race with both cars. It's not easy racing - what with the fuel management and energy recovery system – so there’s certainly more mental work going on in the cockpit. At certain points of the race we were quite quick, but then at other points we were really struggling with the rear grip. Fortunately, we now have two days of testing at Bahrain so we’ll be able to try a lot of different set-ups to try to get the car more as we want it."
Pastor Maldonado, P14, E22-01: “As we expected the pace was much better in the race than it was in qualifying. We were using quite an interesting strategy and were running on two stops which was working well until the incident. We will need to have a look again at what happened as Esteban seemed to be off his line coming into turn one - maybe he missed his braking point, I don't know – and by then I was in the corner with nowhere to go. For sure it's difficult to understand and I was coming out from the pits and with cold tyres. I think he was very unlucky and it’s good he jumped straight out of the car. As a team it’s a plus that we finished with two cars which is very important and now we need to learn from this race and push hard for Shanghai."
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "Both drivers kept their heads down and kept pushing today. It’s clear we still have to unlock a lot of pace from this car, but we were much better with reliability here and our relative pace has improved too. It was good to see both cars at the finish of the race as this is what we need to improve the car and make it faster.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "We’re happy to get both cars to the chequered flag as we’re still very much learning this car and the data collected today will be invaluable for the coming week’s test. Obviously, we’re disappointed that we weren’t fighting for points however we have made another step closer to the cars ahead of us. We’ll keep chipping away and making performance gains so we can get where we want to be."
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: “Getting two cars to the finish was the minimum aim this weekend, but we would have liked to be closer, if not inside, the top ten. Realistically our starting positions made this very difficult but we tried to make up places with one fewer stop than the competition. Both drivers did well with the fuel management to be able to use small boosts when necessary and move up the field, but the performance is still a way off where we want. We’ve got the test next week to look into everything in more detail.”