Carlos Sainz says he still has "a lot of work" to get the most out of Renault's 2018 Formula 1 car despite scoring the best result since the marque's return as a works outfit in 2016.
Sainz finished fifth in Azerbaijan, beating the team's previous best of the current era of sixth, which it has achieved seven times.
However, despite outperforming teammate Nico Hulkenberg, the Spaniard insisted that neither he nor the car are on the limit yet.
"I know there's still a lot of work to do," he told Motorsport.com. "Especially to extract the last two tenths of the car in qualifying, like Nico is doing.
"I feel in the race I am a lot closer, but you know, if I can still do P5 without having 100 percent confidence in the car, it just means that when I get that little 5-10 percent more confidence that I need on the car, I will just be on top of it."
Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul said the result in Baku showed that the team is now consistently fast.
"The good news is that we can be competitive in different conditions, and that's good," he told Motorsport.com. "Also when F1 is unpredictable as this, it's really cool.
"Both restarts and in particular the second one were not great for Carlos, he lost a position to Charles Leclerc which he managed to recover.
"But we gained a lot from the safety car, so we can't complain either."
Meanwhile Abiteboul insisted that the team was not left frustrated with Hulkenberg after the German crashed out in Baku – even though it was the second time in two years that he'd lost a potential podium finish at the venue.
After showing impressive pace to get past the Red Bulls Hulkenberg lost the rear end and struck the wall at Turn 4 on lap 11 while running fifth.
Last year he retired after clipping the wall on the inside at Turn 7 on lap 25 while in sixth place. On both occasions he was well ahead of the a driver who eventually made the podium.
"On a day like this anything is possible. And a podium was probably within our reach. But it's like that.
"It was almost the only mistake he made last year, and if it's the only mistake he's going to make this year, that's done, so only good things to come now. So absolutely no comment from us.
"There was nothing strange we could see on the data. He went a bit deeper, a bit of imbalance, he went on he kerb.
"It was the famous Turn 4, which was really the challenging corner for everyone. I guess maybe a bit more wind gust, I don't know. It was one of those things. I think we need to move on."
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|FP1||Fri 25 Oct|| |
|FP2||Fri 25 Oct|| |
|FP3||Sat 26 Oct|| |
|QU||Sat 26 Oct|| |
|Race||Sun 27 Oct|| |