Nico Hülkenberg just missed out on points on his first race for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, finishing eleventh in the Australian Grand Prix, just behind Esteban Ocon.
The German found himself compromised on the opening lap when attempting to pass Scuderia Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat that cost him a place to Fernando Alonso, and then found himself on the wrong side of the top ten until the chequered flag.
Hülkenberg was happy to be battling amongst the midfield runners and to be in contention for a points finish, and is now looking to make further progress to break into that top ten next time out in China.
“The conclusion from my first race with the team is that we are firmly in the midfield and we’re looking forward to continuing to improve,” said Hülkenberg. “My first lap wasn’t great as I tried to get Kvyat on the outside of turn 13 but he squeezed me wide and I lost a position to Alonso.
“There was not much I could do about him, even though I was lot faster as I just couldn’t overtake. I had a very positive last stint on the Ultrasoft tyres with the car getting better and better, although it wasn’t quite enough to gain another position.”
Hülkenberg finally made a move on Alonso stick with six laps to go after following Ocon through down the start and finish straight heading into turn one, and he admitted to enjoying the move.
“My battle with Ocon and Alonso was a lot of fun,” said Hülkenberg. “I had massive double tow from them, so I gave it all with overtake mode and DRS. It was quite spectacular and must have looked pretty good from the outside too.”