Kobayashi hits out at new F1 cars’ lack of pace

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We’ve chronicled Renault’s reliability issues thus far in Formula One testing. We haven’t done as much chronicling of the lack of pace, by comparison, given the fact teams aren’t in an outright pace push as yet while dialing in their new technologies.

Still, with the best Renault time at Bahrain more than five seconds off the pace of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes W05, it’s Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi has taken the chance to speak out about it.

“We are not in race conditions here, but if we were in race conditions I think I should bring a GP2 car,” he said to reporters in Bahrain this week, via Autosport. “”The lap time is still quicker in GP2. We need to work, but in this moment if we were to race, I think it’s not Formula One.”

Kobayashi later said he’s not interested in merely finishing races, but truly wanting to close the gap to the bigger teams in front of him.

The Japanese driver was “Mr. Excitement” in his first F1 stint from 2009 through 2012, and without saying as much, he’s essentially said he’ll need miracles to make more passes happen given the team’s current pace gap to the field.

Overall times from Bahrain weren’t terribly off last year’s pole at the head of the field. But the gap from first to last is significantly greater now than it has been at any point in the last five years with the most recent iteration of chassis and V8 engines.

Kobayashi wasn’t an out-and-out speed demon when at Toyota or Sauber, but he should have the early pace edge on rookie teammate Marcus Ericsson within the Caterham team at the start of the year.

Problem is, if they’re too far back, it will be hard for either of them to achieve a result worth talking about.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.