Sixth place for Renault ‘very satisfying’, says Hulkenberg

2017 British Grand Prix

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Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg says he is ‘very happy’ with the performance of his RS17 over the British Grand Prix weekend after taking a sixth place finish.

After a season-best starting position of fifth following Valtteri Bottas’s five place grid penalty, Hulkenberg converted the Renault potential into a sixth place finish to cap off the strongest weekend for the team so far this season.

“Good pace in the race, so very happy. Very satisfying,” says Hulkenberg. “Not just over one lap yesterday, but today the pace in the race looked really good. The degradation numbers looked very good, so I’m very happy.”

Hulkenberg drove a consistent race, keeping ahead of the Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez before being pressured by Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages. There was a moment of confusion late on, when the Renault team gave Hulkenberg an incorrect lap count.

“There was a bit of a miscommunication,” Hulkenberg explains. “I was told that there was ten laps to go and then three laps later I was also told ten laps.

“I was a bit mad at them that they didn’t get their count right, because obviously I drive to the limit and manage my tyres to the end and then suddenly I had to do three laps more. I was a bit, well, surprised in that moment.”

Hulkenberg was eventually caught and passed by Ricciardo in the closing laps, after suffering a minor power deployment issue along Silverstone’s long straights.

“We lost some power and some deployment, which made made it easier for Daniel [Ricciardo] to pass me,” says Hulkenberg. I’m not sure whether or not that would’ve made the difference maybe, but we were lucky to get one position from Seb [Vettel] on the last lap.”

Following Renault’s strongest performance of the season so far, Hulkenberg says that the team can be satisfied with their showing over the British Grand Prix weekend.

“Overall, I’m just very, very pleased that the pace was good today, for once. I could really push the car and handle the Force Indias quite well, so that’s the good news of today.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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29 comments on “Sixth place for Renault ‘very satisfying’, says Hulkenberg”

  1. He’s no wünderkind like Hamilton or Vettel but surely the perfect pair of hands Ferrari would need in their second car.

    1. I do not see Ferrari letting that happend especially that releasing Kimi from Ferrari means Seb leaving too because they reported that Seb wants to stay provided that Kimi stays as well. At least Kimi beat Seb this weekend. He will definitely need this performance again and again…

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      16th July 2017, 22:31

      @xtwl I can’t see Vettel having him there. He’d take Ricciardo over Hulkenberg :)

      1. Vettel would beat Hulk like there’s no tomorrow

    3. Probably as quick as Vettel with the same equipment. A lot cooler !

    4. Well he was considered to be a bit of a wunderkind on his way up. He has won in every category he has raced except F1. Given the right car, he’ll win grand prix.

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        17th July 2017, 16:07

        He’s undoubtedly mega talented, I just wonder if he loses out on a few tenths due to his weight and height. Vettel, Hamilton and even Alonso are midgets and are the fastest guys in the sport!

  2. Go hulk

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    16th July 2017, 20:44

    It does seem strange in a way that Hulkenberg is so pleased with just 6th. I suppose it is real progress for the team, but if he had stayed with Force India, just think how much better he could have been doing this year as a whole. Hopefully he went into Renault with the idea that they would improve over the season, which they seem to be doing. It could well be the case that they keep getting better next year to. He probably should stay with Renault.

    1. He has a multi-year deal, so i guess he bought the project over years rather than just this year. So the switch made sense to me, FI this year is irrelevant but in two years from now that will be the deciding factor.

  4. Great result and great weekend for him. To finish over 30 seconds ahead of the much better Force India’s was incredible. Was unfortunate with the late derating issue that could’ve cost him a shot at 5th, but still, 6th is an excellent result for him. Loved that race. The move round the outside of Ocon at Stowe on lap 1 with a full tank of fuel as well, just brilliant. Still think it’s ridiculous that part of the reason he didn’t get a top drive after 2013 was because he was too tall. Definitely been the best driver of the midfield cars this season – the changes to the cars for 2017 really suits his aggressive, quick driving style much more than cars with high deg tyres.

    1. Not only is he too tall but also wears contacts lenses. Still he is a solid driver. There have been plenty of tall drivers in F1.

      He did a great job. Renault looked fast today.

      1. Nigel ”wears contacts lenses” – What makes you so sure about that? I’ve seen him wearing glasses in the images from his karting years and at around the age of 20, but not after that point in time, so I doubt your claim.

        1. @jerejj, I can’t see why that would be an issue, because there have been quite a few drivers in the history of the sport who were long or short sighted – one such driver in reasonably recent times was Ralf Schumcher, but he didn’t have any issues with contact lenses (he even sometimes wore glasses inside his helmet).

          @hugh11, whilst Hulkenberg is one of the taller drivers on the grid, I’m not sure that I buy the claim that he was “too tall” – Button was pretty much the same height as Hulkenberg, and it didn’t seem to impair his chances.

          1. +anon I never saw Ralf Schumacher wearing glasses off or on the track during his F1 career, only years after the end of his F1 career (in a photo that shows him arriving at the Grenoble hospital in the wake of Michael’s skiing accident, which is from 2013). If he did wear contacts at that time, then I’m sure I would’ve seen him wearing glasses when he wasn’t driving as Jacques Villeneuve did during his active career and the same with Hulkenberg. Gutierrez, on the other hand, did wear glasses both off and on the track briefly in 2013, and regarding Lewis, I can’t guess as I’ve seen him wear glasses only very occasionally, first during his team’s season preview press conference or something ahead of the Australian GP last year then after that in an image taken from the garage during one of the practice sessions of that race then after that during a drivers’ meeting in Shanghai, but after that I only saw him wearing them during the Thursday press conference for the US GP and the FIA prize giving gala. I’ve also seen Toto Wolff wearing glasses very occasionally during this and last year.

      2. Fukobayashi (@)
        17th July 2017, 16:09

        Button had a waif like physique though, hence why he does so well in marathons. Hulk is a bit more built.

        And i’m sure he can afford Lasek!

        1. @offdutyrockstar ”And i’m sure he can afford Lasek!” – Which driver you’re referring to?

          1. Fukobayashi (@)
            19th July 2017, 22:03

            @jerejj Hulkenberg obviously. My point is that even if he does have less than perfect eyesight, it isn’t an issue and can be rectified. Personally I don’t know either way and I think he’s a fantastic driver.

        2. @Nigel @offdutyrockstar Actually, Hulk hasn’t been wearing contact lenses even whilst driving since 2013.

          1. Fukobayashi (@)
            19th July 2017, 22:04

            @jerejj cool, that was my point. 😂

  5. Sviatoslav (@)
    17th July 2017, 7:24

    Hulk is still not very stable. Besides, an average driver Perez beat Hulk multiple times. So, Hulk needs to do a better job.

    1. Hulk did get all of the bad luck in 2015/16 though, last year Perez had 1 retirement to Hulk’s, and in 2015 again, Perez had 1 retirement and Hulk had 5 and a DNS. Over the course of time they were team mates, looking at races where they both finished, Hulk finished ahead more times, and got more points. 76-53 in 2014, 58-43 in 2015, and 72-85 in 2016 giving a total of 206-181 in Hulk’s favour, and that’s not counting races he got screwed on strategy (Monaco last year) or got unlucky with debris (like at Brazil last year). Perez got more points, yes, but that doesn’t mean he was better. Last year at Sauber, everyone agrees Ericsson was better throughout the season, but Nasr got the points.
      Also, this years cars suit Hulkenberg’s aggressive, quick driving style more than the high deg tyres which suited Perez.

      1. Well that was a bit more of a rant than I intended

    2. I disagree, Hulk raw pace has always been better than Perez. However Perez was impressively good nursing the tyre while keep a good pace. I am pretty convinced this year tyres do very well to Hulk driving style, hence it would have been interesting to see him race Perez this year!

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      18th July 2017, 17:05

      @sviat Hulk is quicker than Perez – that there’s no doubt about. If the 8b car had suited Hulk instead of Perez, I’m not sure Perez would have been in F1 now…

      At the end of their stint together Hulk was the faster driver even though the car didn’t suit him and that says it all.

      I think he beat Perez in qualifying every year and was headed for a slam dunk in 2015 when suddenly the 8b appeared to save Perez:

  6. So only 1 race left for the other Renault driver? While Nico is really flying with that car it seems the second car is every race broken… Even Max didn’t had that an bad car then Palmer.

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th July 2017, 17:22

    For the people who think Hulk isn’t fast – Hulkenberg is one of the fastest drivers in F1 and the stats show that he might be the fastest, bar none…

    Here’s the difference to his teammates:
    2012 -0.274s vs Paul DiResta
    2013 -0.816s vs Gutierrez
    2014 -0.473s vs Perez
    2015 -0.395s vs Perez
    2016 -0.071s vs Perez
    2017 KO vs Palmer

    Pretty conclusive! He’s had some incredible qualifying results putting cars where they don’t belong…

    P.S. Not sure what happened in 2016 but Hulk must have driven that car like Lewis to beat Perez – it probably was missing a gear or two :-)


    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      18th July 2017, 17:24

      Incidentally, Paul is out of F1, Gutierrez is out, Palmer is out and Perez survived by the miracle at Force India called the VJM8b.

      All his teammates have left F1 (we’ll include Checo since he was a goner).

  8. IvoI (@ivostivanov)
    19th July 2017, 13:37

    It seems like Hulk is a career killer for his teammates! :)
    I think based on pure talent and pace, Hulk is a top 5 driver in Formula 1.
    He just has bad luck, also some bad team and driver strategy calls and the main factor – Pirelli`s tyres.
    This year, with the more durable tyres, Hulk is again showing his speed and talent and I believe in 2 years he could be right in the front battle (of course Renault should give him the proper car!).
    I like his move to the factory Renault team. He is now seen as the current face of this legendary team and he is accepted as a more mature driver…as the leader who can bring them success again.
    Let`s hope for this, because the guy deserves it!

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