Nico Hülkenberg believes that sixth place was the best that the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team could have achieved at the British Grand Prix.
The German profited from Max Verstappen‘s late gearbox failure to move up from seventh and score a crucial eight points for Renault in their battle to stay in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Hülkenberg and team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. – who retired after a collision with Romain Grosjean at Copse – were the only drivers to use the hard compound tyre, introduced for the first time in a 2018 race situation.
Hülkenberg explained Renault’s decision to use the hard compound, saying that the team were keen to only stop once in the race in order to keep track position. Hülkenberg also talked about his experience at the start, managing to turn his qualifying position of eleventh into sixth by the end of the first lap, courtesy of Lewis Hamilton‘s spin when tagged by Kimi Räikkönen at Turn 3 and the Haas F1 Team duo making contact with each other.
“I’m very happy, that was a positive day,” beamed Hülkenberg.
“I think it was the maximum result we could ask for here. We had a good start, then a solid first lap straight up to P6. There was obviously some chaos going on in turns two and three where I managed to sneak through and pick up some places.
“After that it was a case of managing the tyres and the race. We’d elected to go on the hard tyre, which was maybe a bit slower on pace, but we wanted to go for the one stop.”
The 30-year-old was powerless to prevent both Hamilton and Räikkönen’s recoveries from the problems that resulted from their clash and struggled to chase the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing pair on the harder tyre. Verstappen’s mechanical gremlins after the second and final Safety Car period artificially boosted the French team’s points haul. Despite this, Hülkenberg hailed the race as “a good day”.
“A strong race all in all, especially with picking up another position at the end when the Red Bull spun,” he added.
“I’m happy. Eight points for the team is a good day.”
With Grosjean failing to score and Kevin Magnussen only able to rescue ninth place, Renault move 19 points clear of Haas at the effective halfway point of the season. Hülkenberg returns to seventh in the Drivers’ Championship after losing ground because of his engine failure at the Austrian Grand Prix the previous weekend.