Daniel Ricciardo and Renault are clearly nowhere near where they thought they would be at this stage of the formula one season, with the team boss saying a review is on the way.
The team again struggled overnight at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Ricciardo finishing midfield in P12 and lacking pace.
The Australian who switched from Red Bull at the end of last season started in P13 having qualified 10th fastest before a grid penalty was applied.
“It was a frustrating race from my side this afternoon,” Ricciardo admitted after the race on the team website having spent much of the day watching the back of Carlos Sainz’s McLaren.
“It was difficult to close the gap back, we had good pace in the final sector but couldn’t get the run on him out of the final corner,” Ricciardo said.
“We were certainly quicker than 12th today and, in the end, it wasn’t a perfect Sunday. The midfield is so close and everything has to be executed to the maximum for a strong result.
“We’ll regroup and look forward to the next one.”
Indeed, regrouping has become a theme for Renault this year, with team principal Cyril Abiteboul acknowledging it has not reached the standard expected when planning the season.
“Barcelona is always a good race weekend to assess the competitiveness of the car and the team after the first couple of fly away races that are not always representative,” the Frenchman said.
“The midfield is very close and any deviation leads to spectacular variations. But the result today is clear, even without the Safety Car, a few points could have been possible.
We are not in line with the targets we have set ourselves.
“The test next week comes at a good moment to assess particular areas of the car in depth and look at important development items as we define our short-term and medium-term action plan to recover from a poor season start that does not alter our determination and our long-term objectives.”
Lewis Hamilton returned to the top of the world championship by winning the Spanish Grand Prix in a fifth successive one-two for Mercedes.
The 76th victory of the five-times world champion’s career, and third of the season, sent Hamilton seven points clear of Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas after five of the 21 races.
Max Verstappen finished third for Honda-powered Red Bull, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
The next race is the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26, Ricciardo’s home away from home and a circuit on which he has had success with Red Bull.