A distraught Nico Hülkenberg says his retirement from the 2019 German Grand Prix is “a tough one to take” as a possible first Formula 1 podium went begging.
Hülkenberg started his 167th Grand Prix from ninth but amidst the wet weather chaos, crashes, safety car periods and multiple pit-stop strategies, the German was running second to Max Verstappen by lap thirty-one.
Rain had made the Hockenheimring treacherously slippery, particularly the run-off area at turn sixteen and seventeen which had already seen incidents for Carlos Sainz Jr., Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton. Having dropped to fourth behind Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton, Hülkenberg himself slipped wide at turn sixteen on lap thirty-nine and found himself beached in the gravel trap against the tyre barrier.
“It’s a tough one to take,” said Hülkenberg. “I’m upset for myself, the team and for Renault because they deserved an excellent result today.
“It’s one of those days where you have to make it stick, and I’m just gutted with how it ended especially in front of the home crowd.
“The final corner was very tricky as it was damp. I lost the rear a bit, went into a spin so I opened the steering and went onto the black tarmac. It was like ice there and by that point I couldn’t stop the car.
“We were doing a phenomenal job, strategy was very difficult so it hurts and it will hurt even more tomorrow.”
Hülkenberg’s retirement came twenty-seven laps after his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retired with a spectacular engine failure, leaving the Renault F1 Team pointless in Germany and sees them drop to sixth in the constructors’ standings.
Hülkenberg himself drops to fourteenth in the drivers’ standings on seventeen points, five points and three positions behind team-mate Ricciardo.