Renault: From podium shot to double DNF

Jamie Woodhouse
Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg admitted it will “hurt even more tomorrow” after Renault went from a podium opportunity to a double-DNF.

Hulkenberg holds the record for most grand prix starts (167) without a podium in Formula 1, but he was in a great position to finally end that run in the chaotic 2019 German Grand Prix.

The German found himself in P2 at his home race after staying out on the inters as the track dried, but the rain soon started to fall again.

Despite being passed by both Mercedes’, Hulkenberg looked set for P4 and would have had a podium opportunity in hindsight following Valtteri Bottas’ crash and Lewis Hamilton’s multiple downfalls.

Hulkenberg himself crashed out though on Lap 40 when he sent his R.S.19 into the barriers at the final corner.

Daniel Ricciardo’s exhaust had given up the ghost earlier on in the race, and Hulkenberg felt bad for the team who deserved something from the race.

“It’s a tough one to take,” the German driver admitted to reporters at the Hockenheimring.

“I’m upset for myself, the team and for Renault because they deserved an excellent result today.

“It’s one of those days where you have to make it stick, and I’m just gutted with how it ended especially in front of the home crowd.

“The final corner was very tricky as it was damp, I lost the rear a bit, went into a spin so I opened the steering and went onto the black tarmac. It was like ice there, and by that point I couldn’t stop the car.

“We were doing a phenomenal job, strategy was very difficult so it hurts and it will hurt even more tomorrow.”

Ricciardo, who retired on Lap 14, shed some further light on his issues.

“We had an exhaust failure today, which caused the retirement,” the Australian explained.

“I could see a lot of smoke coming out from the back of the car and that was our day done.

“It’s certainly a shame. I watched the rest of the race and it looked a lot of fun out there. I would have loved to have been racing as there were opportunities for big points.

“It’s disappointing but we’ll move on to next week. It’s a tough overall result for the team, but hopefully Hungary will be better for us.”

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