Nico Hülkenberg is looking to put behind him what happened at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, although the penalty he carries over from Belgium will make the race in Italy a much more difficult experience.
The Renault Sport Formula One Team admitted fault for the first corner melee in Belgium that saw a big crash that took out both Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc, as well as himself, while also affecting the races of other drivers in the process.
With a ten-place grid penalty coming his way this weekend, Hülkenberg knows he will be towards the back of the grid at the start of Sunday’s race, but he hopes the pace of the R.S.18 is enough to help him move forward towards the points.
“The weekend didn’t go to plan,” said Hülkenberg. “I hold my hands up for the incident as it was my misjudgement. I’m sorry to my competitors who I eliminated from the race.
“We have an immediate opportunity in Italy to go again, and I’ll be doing my best for a good result. We know we’re going to be near the back of the pack with the grid penalty, but hopefully the pace will be there which will propel us into the points.”
Hülkenberg says he enjoys coming to Monza every year, and finds the circuit enjoyable to drive, particularly when he manages to get the corners and chicanes around the track, such as the Lesmos, Ascari chicane and the final Parabolica turn, perfect.
“I do like Monza, it’s a place which carries a lot of history, so that makes it very special,” said the German. “The atmosphere is never disappointing there, it’s fantastic. Circuits with history are always interesting and fun; it’s a great feeling to race at these places.
“In terms of the actual track, it’s obviously very high-speed throughout; it’s called the Temple of Speed for a reason! It means a low-downforce setting on the car to suit high, straight line speed. Low downforce can mean the car feels light and uncomfortable, and that’s something we’ll be adjusting to in the Friday practice sessions.
“You need to be quite brave on the brakes as Monza has hard braking zones, especially the chicane at the end of the main straight. Of course, there are some legendary corners like the Lesmos, Ascari and the Parabolica, which are a lot of fun to drive when you get them nailed.”