Kevin Magnussen opened his 2016 points tally – and Renault’s for its return to F1 – with a solid run to seventh place in this afternoon’s Russian GP.
From 17th on the gird, the Dane rocketed up to 10th by the end of the first lap, with team-mate Jolyon Palmer in tow, the Renault pair taking full advantage of the casualties which occurred at the start.
Magnussen then gained another spot under the virtual safety car. He kept his head down until his single pit stop, resuming his progress thereafter to find himself in a furious and entertaining battle for eighth, slightly after the half-way mark, along with Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz.
The yellow Renault sustained its advantage over its rivals until the checkered flag, team and driver collecting a well-deserved six points.
“We were quite lucky with a lot of people not finishing and crashing out,” acknowledged the Renault driver.
“But all in all we did a really good job today, with a perfect pitstop, and got past Ricciardo and Grosjean with the strategy.”
Renault’s poor qualifying performance is undoubtedly an area which will require huge improvement, as Magnussen readily admits.
“Yesterday wasn’t perfect, but it’s more a function of our understanding of the tyres than the car itself.
“In the race, with the high fuel it’s generally easier to keep the tyres alive. That shows where our car is and it’s a bit better than in qualifying.
“We will focus on qualifying and improve in the future but right now this is what we have and P7 today is satisfying. Hopefully this is just the beginning of what we’ll see in the rest of the season.”
REPORT: Rosberg eases to win after Kvyat takes out Vettel
AS IT HAPPENED: 2016 Russian Grand Prix
Breakfast with … Martin Brundle
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter