Nico Hülkenberg said that he has felt “strong” over the course of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend so far, taking an important seventh place for the Renault Sport Formula One Team in Qualifying as they look to take sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship away from Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Hülkenberg believed his effort in the session’s second segment was one of his finest Qualifying laps of the season, but was hampered in the final shootout by falling ambient and track temperatures as night fell at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“We know it’s only qualifying and anything can happen in the race,” said Hülkenberg, who reached the top ten for the twelfth time this season.
“But we’ve put ourselves in a good position. I had one of my best Quali laps this year in Q2 and I was very pleased with that.”
“In Q3 I was starting to struggle a bit more, as the temperatures were dropping off but we see that every year.”
Turning his attentions towards the race, Hülkenberg said that his long distance pace looked “pretty good”, with points needed to overthrow now bitter rivals Toro Rosso; just four points separate the two teams going into their final race as a partnership.
The German was adamant that despite the high stakes, the Renault team will approach the race as normal.
“The long run pace has felt pretty good and I have felt strong in the car so we are as confident as we can be at this stage.”
“We will approach tomorrow as a normal race, but are hoping we can hang on to that seventh place.”
Sporting Director Alan Permane hailed Hülkenberg’s “exceptional” Q2 and said that seventh is the ideal position for Renault in their quest.
“It was a very decent effort from Nico in Q3.” said Permane.
“His lap in Q2 was exceptional and we felt that if we could repeat that in Q3 we would be in really good shape.”
“We couldn’t quite replicate it exactly, but it was good enough for seventh, which is where we need to be for the race tomorrow.”