Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Yas Marina, 2019

Final F1 race “could have been really good” – Hulkenberg

2019 F1 season

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Nico Hulkenberg said he could have had a good result in his final F1 race had he not been overtaken by Valtteri Bottas at an opportune moment.

The Renault driver tried to jump ahead of Lando Norris by running a long first stint and almost had enough of a gap when he was caught by the Mercedes. The time he lost while being overtaken by Bottas cost him enough of his lead over Norris that Hulkenberg came out behind the McLaren when he pitted.

“It could have been really good actually,” reflected Hulkenberg, who does not have a seat on the grid for the 2020 F1 season.

“If it hadn’t been for Bottas who kind of overtook me too early, that made me lose two seconds. That’s where the two seconds that I missed to get ahead of Lando after my stop [went].”

Hulkenberg had to follow behind Norris which cost him more time. “If I would have had that position and clean air, I could have pulled off a great strategy there on soft [and] medium. Going long on the soft would have really paid off. But unfortunately that wasn’t possible.

“Then I was 40 laps in his dirty air and that just eats tyres. The pace was very high.”

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He came under pressure from Carlos Sainz Jnr and Daniel Ricciardo who both overtook him on the final lap.

“Carlos and Daniel were pushing on from behind so there was no time to rest and save tyres so it was quite intense. And at the end we just paid the price. The tyres degraded. And at the end unfortunate I couldn’t hang on to that P10.”

Sainz passed Hulkenberg on the inside at turn 11. “I tried to come back on him but I cut [turn] 13 quite aggressively and I almost spun because I hit that kerb very hard and I almost lost the car. And that’s where Daniel slipped through.”

“Had it not been for Bottas, had he started without the back of the grid [penalty], I would have probably got ahead of Lando and I would be here now with six points. But that’s just racing, that’s life.”

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2019 F1 season

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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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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11 comments on “Final F1 race “could have been really good” – Hulkenberg”

  1. If DRS had been enabled sooner, Bottas will have been instantly past. The DRS issue helped some drivers and hindered others.

    1. Bottas would have been on the podium.

  2. José Lopes da Silva
    1st December 2019, 16:55

    Looks the story of his career.

  3. I will be sad to see him go. Excellent driver that just seemed to never be in the right place at the right time. Still have a quiet suspicion we haven’t seen the last of him though.

    1. Still have a quiet suspicion we haven’t seen the last of him though.

      @rocketpanda – we might see him again, but if it happens, I think it’ll happen only in the midfield, again, at best.

      There’s a decent pipeline of young talent who will be snatched up by the top teams if an opportunity arises, so it seems unlikely that even in the near future any of those teams will be giving the Hulk’s resume the once over.

  4. I cannot put into words how happy I am that this was Hulk‘s final appearance in F1 and that the, deservedly, still didn’t get that podium. One of the most overrated drivers of his generation, Sutil 2.0, whose fans are still clinging onto that one moment that could’ve been a decent result.

    Good riddance.

    1. I genuinely don’t understand the spite you’re directing towards Hulkenberg, who always struck me as a decent chap and a good competitor.

    2. “that one”
      Are you aware of how often Hulkenberg has had more thatn “decent results”? Would you like me to list them for you?

  5. And once again he lets the result slip in the last moment.
    Even on his last race you would expect some fighting spirit in there, but no.

    He isn’t coming back. He is 32 already, will be 34 in 2021 and has no star power or something like that to justify any effort.

  6. Gonna miss the Hulk. Was definitely one of my favourite drivers on the grid. It’s sad to see him not live up to the potential he showed from 2010 to 2014. Nonetheless, he was fun to watch and a really likeable chap. I think he’ll find more success in other racing categories. For some reason, F1 just didn’t click for him.

  7. Most people like Hulkenberg but I would classify him as the “classic underachiever”. He didn’t win Le Mans on his own. Why was he never picked up by a top team? I don’t think this has anything to do with wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe an ex put a curse on him years ago.

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