Nico Hulkenberg described his sixth place at today’s British GP as a ‘big success’, having equalled his Renault team’s best result since their return to F1 at the beginning of last season.
Hulkenberg had also qualified sixth fastest yesterday – which became fifth following a gearbox penalty for Valtteri Bottas – but had a worrying start when he bogged down off the line and was swamped by both Force Indias.
He recovered to pass both later in the opening lap, and spent most of the race in empty space between the front runners and midfield pack until a recovering Daniel Ricciardo – who had started 19th after a broken turbocharger in qualifying – caught the Renault in the closing laps. He was unable to fend off the Red Bull for sixth, though he regained the position thanks to a late puncture for Sebastian Vettel.
“We are very happy with the race result today,” he said. “P6 is a big success for the team. We were able to get a good lap in qualifying and then to carry it through to the race. We had a strong race pace, and were able to keep ahead of both Force Indias, which is really positive.”
Renault had brought a floor upgrade for only Hulkenberg’s car, which appeared to have the desired effect. However, unreliability reared its head at an inopportune time, not only leading to Jolyon Palmer‘s failure to make the race start, but also affecting Hulkenberg’s ability to defend from the charging Aussie in the closing laps.
“We lost some power at the end, especially down the straights, which made it easier for Daniel to pass me, but then we gained back a position from Seb [Vettel] when he had his problem.
“Overall this is a very positive result. The new upgrades worked really well, we were able to push the car and I’m really pleased for the team.”