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GP Week : Issue 222
For the four Renault powered drivers, defence was a futile activity in the Canadian Grand Prix. Down the long back straight the Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers were sitting ducks. With a hairpin proceeding it, the straight emphasises engine power over aerodynamics. The Renault was found wanting. In the speed traps Max Verstappen proved the fastest Renault powered driver all weekend. His top speed in qualifying was 334.2kph, some 6kph down on the Mercedes powered Lotus of Romain Grosjean who topped the session with 340.5kph. It was a similar story in the race, Vettel fastest with an even 300kph in the final sector while Verstappen was just ninth fastest - again 6kph off the ultimate pace. It would be easy to look at the figures and lay the blame at Renault's feet. Engine power is their department after all so it follows that a lack of top speed is a result of their lack of performance. But that wouldn't be entirely fair. In the twisty first sector, where the emphasis is less on engine power and more on aerodynamics, Verstappen was only eighth fastest. He fell to twelfth fastest in the middle sector which is a combination of aero and power with two chicanes and a couple of acceleration zones. That Red Bull trailed Toro Rosso in every speed trap suggests downforce was a factor, but of course both will have trimmed out their aero to maximise their speed down the long back straight. For whatever reason the four Renault cars, in a striaght line, were slow. And in the race that made defending all but impossible against anyone with a Mercedes or Ferrari engine. 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> CANADA PARTNERS: renault powerless in defence