Nico Hülkenberg cannot understand the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team‘s lack of performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite Carlos Sainz Jr. qualifying a highly credible fifth in wet conditions, Hülkenberg failed to make it into Qualifying 3 at a track where he has only managed two points finishes at in his Formula 1 career.
In Friday’s Free Practice 1 session, Hülkenberg ground to a halt with an electrical problem. The session also saw Renault handed a suspended fine of €10,000 for fitting two front-left tyres to his car.
Whilst Sainz Jr. managed ninth place, the German struggled to twelfth – a poorly timed pitstop under the brief Virtual Safety Car period eliminating him from top ten contention.
But, Hülkenberg admitted that Renault did not have the requisite speed to challenge for a big haul of points at the Hungaroring.
“We didn’t have the pace in the car today, and the balance felt poor,” bemoaned Hülkenberg. “Ultimately, we weren’t fast enough.
“We had a good one last weekend and it wasn’t so good this weekend, but that’s racing.”
The 30-year-old managed fifth at his home race at the Hockenheimring the weekend prior to Hungary, in difficult conditions, and revealed that Renault had held hopes for Hungary, believing that the technical layout and lack of emphasis on engine power would suit the R.S.18‘s characteristics.
“When you don’t have the pace, everything gets difficult and I was in traffic most of the time, which makes things hard,” Hülkenberg continued.
“We thought this track layout would suit us, so we need to understand what’s gone on this weekend and why the car was difficult to drive.”
Renault held their comfortable buffer in fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship, despite Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean scoring points for the Haas F1 Team, with Hülkenberg also maintaining his seventh place in the drivers’ standings heading into the summer break.
Hülkenberg is set to take part in the in-season test in Budapest early next week, but eagerly awaits the time away from the circuit – adding that the team deserves a rest after a busy schedule.
“We look forward though, testing this week before a bit of time off,” he mused.
“The team, the engineers and the mechanics deserve the break.”