Hülkenberg just misses out on top ten finish

Nico H�lkenberg on his way to 11th place in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix

Nico H�lkenberg on his way to 11th place in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix

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The Renault Sport team began its Formula One season in Melbourne with Nico Hülkenberg finishing just shy of the points in 11th.

Enstone team-mate Jolyon Palmer made a strong start from 19th on the grid at Albert Park, making four positions on the first lap. But he suffered an intermittent brake issue which led to his retirement from the race on lap 15.

The conclusion from my first race with the team is that we are firmly in the midfield and we’re looking forward to continuing to improve

Nico Hülkenberg

New boy Hülkenberg said: “The conclusion from my first race with the team is that we are firmly in the midfield and we’re looking forward to continuing to improve.

“I had a very positive last stint on the ultrasoft tyres with the car getting better and better, although it wasn’t quite enough to gain another position.”

Palmer added: “My race was going well but unfortunately, my brakes stuck on at turn 14. We hoped it was just a glitch but it happened again, so we had no alternative other than to retire.

“It’s not been the start I wanted to my season, so we’ll put it down to experience and look forward to China.”

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “This first Grand Prix of the season under the new regulations has delivered several lessons. Our race result highlights that we were not as well prepared as our opposition.

“We have learnt that in this new era everything needs to be perfectly executed, as it is very difficult to gain track position. We needed to be stronger at the start, in our execution of our strategy, in our pit stops and with our car set-up and balance.

“At every race, we should be in a position to fight for Q3 on Saturday and to fight for points on the Sunday. Our first priority for Shanghai is to improve our reliability and from there we should be in a stronger position.”