Racing towards the points in Bahrain, Nico Hulkenberg says his late race retirement was a “brutal moment” that proved anything can happen in racing.
Starting down in 17th place under the lights at the Sakhir circuit, Hulkenberg worked his way up to sixth place.
Comfortably ahead of Lando Norris, it looked as if the German was on track for his second points-hauls of the season.
And then disaster struck.
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“In my mind I had it booked already,” he told Autosport. “But it just shows you have to bring it home [over the] full race distance.
“Without that, three laps, I was controlling everything. I had a gap to Norris and everything was fine.
“It came also without any signs or problem before. It just happened from one moment to another.
“Obviously it’s a bitter one, hard to swallow. A brutal moment that can happen in racing.
“But on the positive side we had decent pace in the car today. Just yesterday and today the problems prevented really good results.”
Hulkenberg’s retirement coincided with that of his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, both Renaults expiring on the same lap.
It was a case of what could have been after both survived what Hulkenberg billed as a “war zone” first lap.
“Lap one was like a war zone,” he said. “It was crazy.
“[There were] cars all over the place, contact, sparks, parts flying around – I got a big hit on the helmet from a part as well.
“Everything was in that race. It was a spectacular race to be in.
“I did a lot of overtaking which was fun. It would have been really nice to reward myself and the team with those points, but we just need to bounce back another time.”