Renault look to continue points run in Brazil

by Tom Cairns
Daniel Ricciardo - Renault F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas - Race

Renault F1 Team head to São Paulo with the target to strengthen their reach of fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Nico Hülkenberg had picked up points in both Mexico City and Austin and is determined to make it three top ten finishes on the bounce.

The German finds Interlagos as one of his favourite circuits, as he enjoys the atmosphere in particular when it comes to the Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I’d say Brazil is one of my favourite races on the calendar,” Hülkenberg added. “I like the vibe about São Paulo as it’s quite crazy and loud. The fans love their motorsport, especially Formula 1, the circuit is legendary, and it all adds up to create a very special Grand Prix weekend. Interlagos has so much history. You feel all the emotions on a lap there.

“It’s a short lap, but it’s actually very tricky with lots of challenges. It flows anti-clockwise, it’s busy and quite physical. In places it’s bumpy, but it’s all about confidence. The middle sector is twisty but where you can make up some time.

Hülkenberg remembers picking up his only Formula 1 pole position on this circuit in 2010 when he was racing for Williams Racing. He had also led for Force India in 2012 before his collision with Lewis Hamilton curtailed his podium chances, which has still eluded him since.

“I’ve had some cool memories in Brazil. The pole position in 2010 was pretty special. That was a fun session where everything clicked, and we managed a perfect lap in difficult conditions and it’s something I’ll always remember. I led the race in 2012 but was unlucky to moss out on a top result.

The thirty-two year old sits twelfth in the Drivers’ Championship on thirty-seven points. He will need a good hall of points this weekend to stay in the fight of finishing in the top ten overall this year, a run which stretches back to 2013.

“It was good to be back in the points across both races, but we always want more. We recovered well in Austin and the second-half of the race, especially the final ten or so laps, were fun and we deserved our points. We have to target more in Brazil and pushing closer to sixth-seventh spots to take home even more points.”

Nico Hülkenberg - Renault F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas - Race
Credit: Renault Sport

Daniel Ricciardo‘s sixth place in Austin marks only the third time in 2019 that he has finished in the top six in what has been a disappointing first season for the Australian with the Enstone-based team.

Like his team-mate, Ricciardo enjoys the “Samba-like” feel in Brazil, as he believes it is what gets him “pumped up for the race”.

“I really like the atmosphere in Brazil. It’s a cool one as the locals love racing, and they really embrace it when it comes to their town,” Ricciardo said. “There’s a Samba-like, carnival feel to the place and I like the energy that brings. The drivers’ parade on Sunday is one of the loudest of the season and gets you pumped for the race.

“Interlagos is a short circuit without many high-speed corners. It’s very technical and you need to find a good rhythm to do well there. Overtaking can be difficult, but I’ve come through the field a couple of times there in the past, so it is possible to gain places. The weather is usually interesting too. It can play a big part and you have to be ready for all conditions.

Ricciardo is currently ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, nine points above Hülkenberg. He is confident that Renault can continue their run of points finishes following the team’s disqualification from the Japanese Grand Prix last month.

“Austin was a fun race with some good points in the bag for the team. We secured double points across both Mexico and the United States, which was really positive after a few races where we missed out. It’s important to keep the consistency. Three points-scoring finishes in a row would be sweet, so it’ll be all focus on achieving that when we hit the track on Friday. Viva Brazil!”

Renault are eighteen points clear of sixth place Racing Point F1 Team, and a further point ahead of Toro Rosso Honda in the Constructors’ Championship with only two races left.

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