Nico Hülkenberg was a surprise casualty of an ultra-close opening Qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Renault F1 Team driver set to start Sunday’s race from seventeenth on the grid.
The German had looked to be a contender for the top ten during the free practice sessions leading up to the Qualifying hour, however, a few issues with his R.S.19 compromised his Q1 session and left him unable to join team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in advancing through to Q2.
Hülkenberg says it is important for Renault to understand these issues that affected his session, so they do not reoccur in the future, and the pace earlier in the weekend makes it even harder for him to not be inside the top ten places on the grid.
“We unfortunately suffered a couple of issues with the car at the worst possible time during qualifying,” said a disappointed Hülkenberg. “We lost performance and there was no chance of fixing anything in a short amount of time.
“We need to understand and fix these problems so they don’t happen again. I’ve felt good in the car all weekend, so it’s a shame to miss out on a top ten grid slot for the race.”
Hülkenberg knows it will be difficult to turn the weekend around on race day from so far back on the grid, but the German remains positive that he could fight back and score points for a second consecutive race weekend.
“Hopefully we can make something out of tomorrow, it’s going to be tough from so far back, but we’ll be giving it our best,” insisted the German.