Hülkenberg races to first top ten finish for Renault

Nico Hulkenberg on his way to ninth place in Bahrain
Nico Hulkenberg on his way to ninth place in Bahrain
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Renault Sport F1 Team scored its first points in the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Despite continued positive progress with top ten qualifying performances from Nico Hülkenberg and Jolyon Palmer on Saturday, both drivers finished lower than they started as they struggled with race pace. Hülkenberg crossed the finish line in ninth position and Palmer finished 13th, both using two-stop strategies.

It’s good to have the first points on the board and I think I had a good race given the pace of the car

Nico Hülkenberg

Hülkenberg said: “It’s good to have the first points on the board and I think I had a good race given the pace of the car. I really wrestled with it a lot and two points were the best we could do on the strategy we ran.

“We are a lot better in qualifying but over the 57 laps of the race we exposed some of the areas where we need to improve. We have some updates for evaluation when I’m in the car, which will hopefully improve our race pace by a big chunk for Sochi.”

Palmer said: “It was a tough race,I had a good fight with [Fernando] Alonso and [Daniil] Kvyat after the safety car bunched everyone up. But the couple of touches with Kvyat didn’t help things, it made for a difficult evening, unfortunately, where we struggled with a lack of pace.”

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul added: “We may have lost one position relative to the optimum strategy but the most important aspect for us is to understand why there is such a difference between our Saturday qualifying performance and our Sunday race pace.

“Jolyon had a more difficult race so we also need to understand in detail why he struggled especially after qualifying in the top ten for the first time. This week’s test comes at a perfect time to further our understanding on the issues that are now identified, as well as to test first major upgrades.”