‘First podium still quite some distance away’

Date published: June 21 2019

Nico-Hulkenberg-PA1

Set to take to the Paul Ricard in an updated RS19, Nico Hulkenberg says it would be great to bag a first podium with Renault at their home race but he concedes that still some way off.

Renault will introduce their biggest aero upgrade of this season at Paul Ricard.

The updates are believed to range from a new front wing, barge board and floor to rearranged cooling.

On the back of the team’s first double points-haul of the campaign, with Daniel Ricciardo P6 in Montreal to Hulkenberg’s P7, Renault are hopeful of making inroads into the top three teams’ advantage.

However, Hulkenberg doesn’t believe it will be enough to put Renault on the podium at their home race.

“I would love to [be on the podium] but I think that is still quite some distance away,” said the German, who holds the record for the most GP starts without a podium.

“It is true we have some updates here but I’m sure other teams are bringing new things as well. I’m curious obviously about how it helps our car.

“Hopefully we can take a step towards the top three teams and eventually, at some point this year, make their lives harder.

“Firstly, the main target of the season it to really become clearly fourth team and this upgrade is just part of the journey, part of the process of that year.

“But, of course, it’s an exciting weekend for us and we want to do France proud.”

Renault are currently fifth in the championship on 28 points, two behind McLaren.

Speaking about F1’s midfield battle, Hulkenberg says “small margins” will decide the outcome in the battle for the ‘best of the rest’ tag.

“It’s usually pretty tight and yeah, small margins can make a big difference so it’s important to get it together, like always. Feel good and strong.

“Obviously this weekend is important and a big one for us but I think the approach is like every other race.

“You keep calm and do what you have to do, go through the ranks on Friday and Saturday – but of course we want to have another strong finish here and team result like in Canada.”

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