Renault progress report: We’re incomplete heading to Melbourne

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Ahead of the second Bahrain test last week, Renault Sport’s F1 deputy managing director Rob White said the engine manufacturer had made some strides but was a little bit behind.

But coming out of the test, White was more dramatic in word choice, going so far as to say there are some preparations for Melbourne in two weeks that are “incomplete.”

“We wanted each of our four teams to be able to approach a normal race weekend without having to improvise any of the procedures or operations needed,” he said, in a Q&A with Formula One’s official website. “We can’t escape the fact that we did not complete the entire program with all the teams and that some Melbourne preparations are incomplete.”

White did admit progress, from various short runs and mock qualifying sessions, but Renault struggled to complete mileage overall throughout the entirety of the 12 days of winter testing. White said the team needs to extract more torque from the powerplant.

January’s Jerez test was more a shakedown than it was a chance to collect full data. The two in Bahrain were better, but not by much.

This all leaves the four Renault-powered teams – Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham – with more questions than answers heading into Melbourne in just under two weeks time.

Verstappen picks illegal Raikkonen pass as favorite F1 2017 overtake

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Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.

When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.

The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.

“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.

“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.

“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”