Nico Hülkenberg: “I was definitely happier with our race pace”

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17. Credit: Renault Sport F1 Team

Nico Hülkenberg managed to push his ultra-soft tyres all the way to lap 40 in an attempt to finish one place above his starting position.

Unfortunately he was unable to jump ahead of Esteban Ocon and ended the race where he started in eighth.

Despite there being little life left in tyres by the time he pitted, Hülkenberg is adamant that it was the right decision on the day, even if it was forced by what was transpiring out on track.

I’m really happy with the strategy we ran today; there wasn’t too much left from the tyres at the end of that first stint, but we achieved what we set out to do,” he said.

I lost track position at the start so we let everyone else pit ahead of us and went as long as we could go on the first set of boots.”

The Renault Sport F1 Team’s R.S.17 handled the tricky Sochi circuit well and displayed an improvement in pace, though there are always improvements that can be made. It is at least a positive benchmark as the grid head to Barcelona where they are all anticipating the delivery of updates, which may prove season changing.

I kept pushing and the car performed really well, staying switched on with the track improvement meaning I was able to get faster and faster,” he added.

“I was definitely happier with our race pace today; we’ve still got more work to do but we’ve clearly taken a step in the right direction this weekend.”