Nico Hülkenberg says that he’s as “determined as ever” to return to form at the Hungarian Grand Prix after a “bitter” end to his home Formula 1 race in Germany last Sunday.
Hülkenberg crashed at the troublesome Turn 16 while in contention for a podium finish at Hockenheim on lap 39 of 64 in tricky conditions, saying that he “drove the wheels” off of his car to stay among the leading pack.
The Renault F1 Team driver’s no score demoted him to fourteenth place in the Drivers’ Championship and, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retiring early on with an exhaust problem, Renault has now fallen outside the top five in the Constructors’ standings.
Hülkenberg revealed that he is anticipating the start of the summer break after the Hungarian weekend, ending a disappointing first half of the 2019 season for him and Renault, but is content with the chance for immediate redemption after his German Grand Prix troubles.
“It was a bitter one and I’m very disappointed for the team and myself,” said Hülkenberg.
“We were doing a very good job in difficult conditions.
“It hurts, but we have the opportunity for an immediate comeback this weekend in Hungary. I’m determined as ever for a strong result.
“Hungary is always a good Grand Prix weekend,” he continued.
“It also marks the end of the first part of the season as we have the summer break, which I’m looking forward to.
“It’s been a busy few months tackling this European part of the calendar so it’ll be nice to recharge after the race.
“We’ll be aiming for a good result on track to ensure we head into the summer with something to smile about.”
The 31-year-old also squashed rumours that he will be leaving F1 to join Porsche‘s upcoming ABB Formula E programme, having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the German marque in 2015.
Porsche had confirmed André Lotterer and Neel Jani as its drivers for the team’s inaugural season in the all-electric championship, but news had surfaced of an approach for Hülkenberg.
Speculation was furthered by Renault’s reported courtship of Mercedes AMG Motorsport reserve driver Esteban Ocon – the Frenchman was the team’s Friday driver in the first half of 2016.
“Yeah, I heard [those rumours] a lot recently,” he told F1’s Paddock Pass programme. “It’s not true.”
When asked if he was confident of staying in F1 next year, he replied: “Yes.”