Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, 2018

2018 team mates battles: Hulkenberg vs Sainz at Renault

2018 F1 season review

Posted on

| Written by

The intra-team battle at Renault this year was a tasty one, featuring two drivers who destroyed their previous team mates to the point that they lost their seats.

Nico Hulkenberg thrashed Jolyon Palmer who was elbowed aside late in the year in favour of Carlos Sainz Jnr. And the latter’s scoreline against Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso had been arguably even more impressive, and Kvyat too found himself surplus to requirements (albeit, as it turned out, only temporarily).

The result was intriguing but, sadly, short-lived: Daniel Ricciardo’s arrival at the team means Sainz is moving on after just one full season.

While superficially Sainz lost to Hulkenberg and was dropped, the reality of the situation is more complex. Not least because Sainz was on loan to Renault from Red Bull, and therefore not necessarily a shoo-in for a 2019 drive.

Renault is ramping up its operation to get to ‘fighting weight’ and it wasn’t until the European season began that Sainz’s team was assembled around him in its intended form. That coincided with an upswing in his performance: having been shown the way by Hulkenberg in the opening fly-away races, Sainz had a strong home race (as he often does) and carried that momentum into the following rounds.

It was only at the final races that Hulkenberg restored his supremacy, by which point it was long known that Sainz will be a McLaren driver in 2019.

In the final reckoning Hulkenberg had a clear edge on Sainz, particularly on one-lap pace, which has always been a strength. But Sainz contributed a respectable chunk of Renault’s points total.

Hulkenberg has long been considered by many a top midfield talent worthy of a place in a top team. The arrival of a multiple race-winner next year, as Renault sets its sights on catching the top three, will be the biggest test of his credentials so far.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Nico Hulkenberg vs Carlos Sainz Jnr: 2018 Renault team mates performance comparison

Season scores

Who was ahead?

The table below shows at which races Hulkenberg qualified or finished in front of Sainz:

Nico Hulkenberg Q

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 F1 season review

Browse all 2018 F1 season review articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

12 comments on “2018 team mates battles: Hulkenberg vs Sainz at Renault”

  1. And Hulkenberg/Renault are deservedly WDC/WCC in F1.5.

  2. Renault were lucky that Haas and Force India had their fair share of problems both on and off the track this year. They were the more consistent mid field team but they still had their fair share of problems and mistakes. Hulkenberg has made quite a few mistakes this year, one of which sent Alonso flying into the top of another car. Sainz has been dependable but his car has failed him a few times. But in the end these mistakes didn’t cost them 4th in the Championship and the must needed prize money they need in order to up the grid.

    1. Hulkenberg was the driver that spent less laps on track in the entire grid, with 7 DNFs, Sainz had 3 as well if I’m not mistaken. The others had plenty of opportunities to close in the gap, but failed.

      Renault were best of the rest on merit, despit their and others setbacks.

    2. I feel like it was more to do with consistency in terms of car pace, Haas especially were up and down on the pace all season, sometimes 7th/8th and others 15th/16th, whereas Renault were always sort of 11th/12th at worst

    3. Renault were lucky that Haas and Force India had their fair share of problems both on and off the track this year.

      As mentioned by @johnmilk above, Renault probably had more than its fair share.

      And Hulkenberg outshone each of the four Haas & Force India drivers throughout the season.

      PS does AMG tune a 78cc engine ;)

    4. It’s not luck if your opponents fail to deliver. It means Renault performed better because they avoided those same mistakes.

  3. Ι was a bit dissapointed by Renault season in 2018. After what they shown in 2017, with a car that ended as 4th quickest, i hoped & expected that they could occasionaly battle with the big 3. It didnt happen, so i hope that it happens in 2019. As for the lineup, Hulkenberg beat easily Sainz but both had average seasons. Hulkenberg had many DNFs, including some “rookie” crashes (Baku, Spa, Abu Dhabi), but when he kept out of trouble he was there pace wise. Sainz never impressed me, & he generally seemed to lack stability in his results & raw pace. Both of them need to step up their game in 2019, as both will face strong drivers.

  4. Hulkenberg overall was the better out of the two although he did make a couple of significant mistakes during the season most notably in Spa but also in Baku he threw away a chance for a good points haul. A bit pity that Sainz leaves the team after only one full season. I wished he would’ve been able to remain at Renault in the long-term, but in the end, it wasn’t meant to be. Next season, Renault should again be more competitive although I doubt they’d still be able to overhaul the trio of Mercedes, Ferrari, and RBR, so I suspect fourth is yet again the maximum they can realistically achieve, although they should at least be closer to the top-three both pace, as well as, points-wise, and even more ahead of the non-works PU-customer teams than they were this past season.

  5. Hulkemberg had a better season than Sainz. Both drivers are good, although perhaps not so much to be champions.
    I think that next year we will see some yellow and black cars on the podium. Surely the cars will be faster and more reliable although they will still belong to the Class B of the category. In the hands of Ricciardo, one of the best current drivers, in some races the Renault will battle the 6 cars of Class A.
    And it would not be strange that Hulkemberg gets the first podium of his worthy race in Formula 1.

    1. I’m really looking forward to the Hülkenberg – Ricciardo battle

    2. It sounds unrealistic tbh, they’re 1,5 sec behind, unless they recover ALL that gap they can’t challenge ferrari, merc or red bull on pace, and 4 retirements out of 6 for top cars never happen, so they need a crazy race like baku 2017 or 2018.

  6. I predict another year or two of such beating ( this time from youngster) and then bye bye Carlos.

Comments are closed.