Nico Hülkenberg says the Renault F1 Team need to capitalise on any opportunity that comes there way this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps as Formula 1 returns after its summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix.
The German says Spa-Francorchamps is one of his favourite tracks on the Formula 1 calendar and is a ‘really cool’ challenge thanks to its corner combinations, but with only one point scored in the past four races, Hülkenberg knows he needs to turnaround his season and quickly.
“Spa is one of my favourite tracks to race at in Formula 1,” admits Hülkenberg. “Everything about the place makes it so special. The scenery in the forest, the unpredictable weather, the awesome corner combinations; it all adds up to create this really cool challenge.
“Spa is known for its elevation changes and fast corners. It’s a real thrill when you nail a lap and head through Eau Rouge, Pouhon and Blanchimont at high-speed. I think Spa suits my style of driving and we’ll be aiming for a solid run this weekend to start this second-half of the season on the right foot.
“It’s a long lap with a lot of things to get right. It can be tricky to find the right balance on the car; you need high downforce for some of the corners in the middle part of the lap, while also not taking too much off to ensure a good top-speed on the straights.
“It has a nice flow to it, and you need to piece together the sectors. The weather can be a bit weird in Spa; one part of the circuit might be dry, while another could be wet. Anything can happen there, and we know a big opportunity could arise.”
Hülkenberg feels the race in Belgium and the following race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy are ‘make or break’ for Renault’s season, with a poor month of July leaving them down in sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, not where they were expecting to be at the beginning of the year.
The German’s only point in the past four races came thanks to a tenth-place finish in the British Grand Prix, while overall, he has finished only four times inside the top ten to sit fourteenth in the Drivers’ Championship heading into the second half of the year.
“The break certainly came at a welcome time for us after a disappointing July,” said the German. “We know the season has fallen below our expectations so far and it’s up to us now to ensure we recover it for the remainder of the year.
“I relaxed a little, recharged the batteries on a boat in Croatia. But now it’s time to get going again and I’m ready for the challenge. These next two back-to-back races are almost a make or break for our season. We have to be on it.”