Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Nico Hülkenberg says he is “relishing the challenge” in the fight for the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the final race of the season.
The Renault team enter the final round in a difficult position, sitting just four points shy of Scuderia Toro Rosso and two points ahead of Haas F1 Team. Both he and the team know that a strong result in Abu Dhabi could see them move up to sixth place – and earn far more in prize money – whilst a poor result could see them drop down to eighth, thereby losing money.
Far from shying away from the pressure, Hülkenberg says it’s something he’s looking forward to – and that his strong performances at the track in previous years could help him this weekend.
“The circuit itself is quite amazing and the facilities are really impressive. It’s a long lap with a weird rhythm so it’s key to get comfortable with the change of flow. The corners are a lot different to each other so it’s vital to find a good balance, get accustomed to the conditions and master it.
“Abu Dhabi is a really fun place for a season finale. I’ve finished in the top seven three times in the last three years so I’m looking forward to it and ready to fight for some points.
“The Constructors’ Championship will go down to the wire for sixth in Abu Dhabi and I’m really relishing the challenge. The track should suit us better than Interlagos. It’s the season finale, there’s plenty at stake and that makes me very excited.”
The team arrive at Abu Dhabi following a difficult Brazilian Grand Prix, where despite both cars making it to the third qualifying session, they were only able to pick up one point between them. Whilst this wouldn’t normally be positive, it marked the first point Hülkenberg had taken in seven races – a period in which he’d had four retirements – and is a sign of the car’s development.
“It’s certainly positive to pick up one point after such a frustrating run in recent months. In terms of pace, we weren’t as strong as we would like to be but we did the best we could.
“This year has been about progress and development. I’ve got to know a new team, and one that has been developing strongly over the course of the year.
“We’ve made progress with the car and our performance. Of course, we’ve wanted more in terms of results, but I think we have put many things in place behind the scenes, which will enable us to fight for better positions in the future, and that’s always been the aim.”