Nico Hulkenberg: “Not much went to plan”

Nico Hulkenberg lamented the first lap chaos in Bahrain as the German found his afternoon compromised by a first lap trip to the pits to replace his front wing.

The Sahara Force India driver had gone into the race with high hopes of a good result after qualifying inside the top eight during Saturday’s qualifying session, but the unplanned trip to the pits and high tyre degradation thereafter left him languishing well outside the points in fifteenth.

Hulkenberg believed he was unable to show the true pace of his VJM09 during the race, having spent the race playing catch up on the field.

“A difficult and disappointing race where not much went to plan,” revealed Hulkenberg. “I made a poor start away from the line and was on the back foot going into turn one.

“Then suddenly three or four cars backed up on the apex and I nudged the back of somebody, which damaged my front wing and forced me to pit on lap one.

“From there onwards we tried to recover and pull off a two-stop strategy to get back in the race, but it proved very difficult. I was always in traffic and involved in lots of fights so my tyre degradation was very high.

“I don’t think we’ve seen our true pace today because the first lap destroyed my race and we were out of synch with everybody and always playing catch up.”