Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the team always expected its gap to Haas to vanish like "an ice cube in the sun".
Over the last six races, Renault has scored 26 points to Haas’s 57, and the two teams now stand on 82 and 76 respectively in their battle for fourth place.
The Enstone team endured one of its worst weekends of the season in Belgium, with both drivers going to the back of the grid after power unit changes, and neither scoring points.
Nico Hulkenberg crashed at the first corner, while teammate Carlos Sainz struggled home in 11th place. It was only the second time in 2018 that the team failed to score.
“Frankly we were assuming that this gap would disappear like an ice cube in the sun,” Abiteboul told Motorsport .com.
“We knew since day one that Haas is very competitive, and actually it’s quite the opposite, we are lucky that we are still ahead. It gives us the opportunity to keep on defending until Abu Dhabi.
“We know that we have another challenging track in Monza, but let’s see. We have quite a lot to come in terms of development on the chassis, but I expect the predominant factor is going to be engine competitiveness.”
Abiteboul admitted that Spa was always going to be a tough weekend, made worse after a poor qualifying saw Sainz take an engine penalty and join Hulkenberg at the back of the grid.
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