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Hulkenberg 'bitter' after frustrating Sochi race

  • Published on 30 Sep 2019 15:57
  • comments 4
  • By: Dieter Rencken & Fergal Walsh

Nico Hulkenberg was left feeling frustrated after the Russian Grand Prix, in which he managed to secure a single point for himself and Renault.

The German started the race from the third row on the grid but dropped positions on the opening lap, before losing more time during a botched pit stop.

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When asked if the race result was bittersweet after a difficult start, the former Force India driver replied: "I'm bitter, there's nothing sweet about it."

Hulkenberg insists that he has no harsh feelings towards the team over the pit stop, and stated that he needs to review footage of the incident to see if he was possibly at fault.

"I'm not mad at the team," Hulkenberg affirmed. "Of course, it's not ideal and it doesn't help but the guys, they try as hard as they can. I need to find out, maybe my position wasn't great, I don't know.

"It started with a poor start, poor first lap, I lost three or four positions. I raced back, I think I recovered one position or something. We wanted to undercut, but then obviously the slow pit stop put us right back.

"Every tenth matters so if you lose a couple of seconds, that's bad. Then I had to push on and use my tyres a lot, which is always difficult towards the end of the tyre life stint.

"There was a virtual safety car that went against us too, two guys sneaked by us. It kind of all unravelled against us. It's unfortunate because the car deserves much better, I had really good pace in the car but I could never really show it because I was stuck behind someone. 

With Renault scoring just a single point, it lost further ground to McLaren in the constructors' championship, as Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished sixth and eighth respectively.

McLaren currently has a 33 point lead in fourth place over Renault with five races left to run in the 2019 season.

"Today, we lost points again. It's a lot of wood and every race that goes by that we don't outscore them, it gets more and more difficult," Hulkenberg stated. "We need to focus race by race, get everything out of it by staying clean and smooth."

Replies (4)

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  • Renault has got to be the second worst ran team in F1 (Williams of course is first, far ahead). Renault have a way of underachieving that's only rivaled by Haas. Then the team (or Alain Prost at least) have the balls to come out and criticize Nico for being "too negative." I want Renault to do well very much, but at the same time I want to see some heads roll. They anger me massively.

    • + 0
    • Oct 1 2019 - 20:34
    • Kean

      Posts: 606

      While I agree that Renault need some restructuring (Abiteboul should get the boot), I just heard an interesting take on Hulkenberg. Was listening to the Marshall Pruett podcast where during a q&a he gave his opinion on Hulk. Basically he rates him relatively high for his capabilities behind the wheel, though not higher than the top guys in Indy. However, he doesn’t think Hulk would be a good fit in Indy because of the atmosphere among the drivers where divas are not tolerated. In other words, according to Marshall’s sources Hulk is a diva and ”a bit of a dick”. In Sweden we got a taste of Hulk’s diva tendencies a few years back during an interview, which is why I don’t really question Marshall’s take on Hulkenberg. Perhaps Prost ”negative” comments are justified.

      • + 0
      • Oct 2 2019 - 14:10
    • @Kean so I've heard this negative view from Swedes over the years. What happened that the rest of us don't know? What did he say in that interview? My impression of Hulkenberg has always been the opposite. I rarely hear him criticizing others, blaming the car for mistakes, whining on the radio, be a prick to the press, and in general be an asshole. I haven't ever seen any of those things. But I have heard other say them repeatedly. Especially Danish fans. Dunno if it's all about the incident with Magnussen.

      • + 0
      • Oct 3 2019 - 04:47
    • Kean

      Posts: 606

      First of all I agree that he doesn’t give that impression, but what happened was the way he acted in a particular interview when he first came to Renault. In a podcast the reporter explains, first of all Hulk conducts himself like he’s somehow better, like he’s a champion and in that regard he and Magnussen are apparently a bit similar, but Hulk is also arrogant and disrespectful in a smirky and condescending way (at least in this particular instance). He wasn’t getting any controversial questions, but he was answering in a flippant divaesque way. Not looking at the reporter, acting above it all. The reporter said it was like he was putting on a show for a friend of his who was there (off camera), it got to the point so the reporter thought it was embarrassing. Then suddenly Hulk just gets up and leaves. Even his “press-lady” was apologetic afterwards. The reporter said that he doesn’t expect any driver to be his friend, but he expects them to be professional and realise that he’s there to do a job and they should respect that, and Hulkenberg doesn’t. It sort of reminds me of Button’s description of Ralf Schumacher. Now when Marshall Pruett says that his “contacts” in the F1 paddock describes Hulk as a diva and “a bit of a dick” which makes his personality unsuitable for the Indy paddock I start seeing Haas’ choice and Prost’s comments differently. Now I wouldn’t have gone for Grosjean, but perhaps I wouldn’t have gone for Hulk either. Based on driving ability I rate him high, he would be an excellent choice for Merc, RBR or Ferrari in a second fiddle role to their top drivers and perhaps that is what his personality needs, perhaps he needs to be brought down to earth by being given a clear role as a second driver.

      • + 0
      • Oct 3 2019 - 12:33

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