Nico Hülkenberg: “It felt like driving on soap”


Nico Hulkenberg struggled with his Intermediate tyres during qualifying in Italy - Credit: Renault Sport Formula 1 Team

Nico Hülkenberg was unable to advance through to the top-ten shootout in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday after struggling with the Intermediate tyre when it mattered, with the German ending the session in twelfth position.

Unfortunately for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver, he will fall further down the field when he takes a grid penalty for an engine change, and he hopes that from starting near the rear of the field he will be able to make his way back up to the top ten and into the points.

“Today was tricky and in particular with the Intermediate tyres as it felt like driving on soap as we just couldn’t develop any sort of grip and balance,” said Hülkenberg.

“We had one set of Wets that felt much better and we were on good pace until the start of Q2, but at the end we couldn’t get pace on the Intermediate tyres when we needed it.

“We’ll do the best we can tomorrow; hopefully we can grab some points.”

Team-mate Jolyon Palmer found himself on the wrong side of the cut off mark in the first session, and also had complaints about the Intermediate tyres, although he knew he would also be starting towards the back of the field thanks to an engine change penalty himself.

“The tyre choice was difficult today,” said Palmer. “I pitted for Intermediate tyres from a lap that could have gotten me through Q2 but then I couldn’t get the tyres working properly.

“I got one lap in but it was just sliding around and couldn’t get another lap in before I saw the chequered flag.

“We knew that whatever happened today we start from the back so it’s not a big deal, but it would have been good to get a better crack at qualifying, regardless of where we’ll start tomorrow.”