Hülkenberg: "Gap to top teams bigger in 2018"

Published on 26 Mar 2018 10:02

Nico Hulkenberg says the challengers to F1's top three teams have "a lot of work to do" to catch up. Like other hopeful midfield teams including McLaren, Renault entered 2018 eager to be closer to the pace set by Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Hulkenberg said Renault can take positives away from Melbourne, but he said the bad news is "our deficit to the leaders". "The guys ahead of us were a long way ahead," said the German driver. "We wanted to reduce the gap in the winter, but it seems that it has grown even more. That is not good. We have a lot of work to do."

When asked where the midfield lacks pace to the front, Hulkenberg answered: "In my opinion it's everything. "It's all about the little details. It's partly the engine, partly the aerodynamics, but also the chassis, the dynamics, the mechanicals, and so on."

But he said the good news is that Renault has started the season well. "We have a good basis for further work," said Hulkenberg. "Before Grosjean and Magnussen went out, we were at their pace and also McLaren's. This year we have a good car at the beginning of the season." (GMM)

Replies (19)
DK RenaultFM1 26 Mar 2018 10:530
Posts: 100
You will stay podiumless another year. Their goals was battling for the world championship by 2020. I think they will miss that one out. Cyril Abiteboul should be sacked and Hulkenberg replaced with Romain Grojean.
NL michielhimself 26 Mar 2018 11:01+2
Posts: 96
You were making a lot of sense right up until the name Romain ....
They'd probably do better signing Ocon. Grosjean is the new Trulli, including the trailing row of cars with drivers who had the bad fortune to qualify worse than him despite having better race pace .... sadly Grosjean-train doesn't have the same nice ring to it.
US renaultFanF1 26 Mar 2018 11:170
Posts: 80
Romain left the team for Haas. He had the option to stay and he chose to leave. Also, Hulk is a better driver, once Renault has a podium car, Hulk will deliver
DK RenaultFM1 26 Mar 2018 14:070
Posts: 100
@Renaultfan1 get your info corrected. Grojean signed before Renault took over Lotus. What was he supposed to do I ask?
US renaultFanF1 26 Mar 2018 14:270
Posts: 80
Well, he made a bad decision. In any case, it's my opinion that Hulk is the most underrated driver on the grid, and I believe he will show this quite clearly this year against Sainz
Posts: 625
Hulk is Hulk. He’s had long enough to prove himself and the big teams see stuff in the data that they don’t like. He’s good at what he does but underrated? No way..
NL F1_IS_Dead 26 Mar 2018 13:21+1
Posts: 119
renaultFanF1 - isn't he driving since 7 years in F1? He had plenty of opportunities to deliver a result, or at least show something special. He threw all the chances he had away. Last years Baku was the best example.
This guy lacks race pace. He drops like a stone after every start. He simply is not able to move forward.
Compared to him Grosjean is in another league. He showed his class in a Lotus. As soon as Raikkonen decided to join Ferrari and the team stopped favouring him, he had no chance against Grosjean.
DK RenaultFM1 26 Mar 2018 14:110
Posts: 100
Exactly my point..
US renaultFanF1 26 Mar 2018 14:280
Posts: 80
So the Lotus team made Grosjean slower than Kimi? LOL
US renaultFanF1 26 Mar 2018 14:360
Posts: 80
BTW when did Romain join F1? I believe it was in 2009? Or was his first drive in 2008? I'm sure you know... and for the most of his career he was as bad as Maldonado due to crashing in first corner every other race. He was lucky to have Maldonado take the spotlight in that regard, or he would be the one with most crashes
NL F1_IS_Dead 26 Mar 2018 19:050
Posts: 119
RENAULTFANF1 - he just crashed into the wrong people, thats all... And not every crash was his fault, but it was blamed for it automatically.

"So the Lotus team made Grosjean slower than Kimi? LOL"

There is nothing funny about it. At that time Raikkonen was still considered as a competitive racing driver. A driver with a star status. If you have someone like this in your team, you will have to keep him motivated.
If you think that a number 1 status and everything that comes with it, does not influence the performance of the second driver, then...
Posts: 140
There was also prefered car development when Lotus decided to rebuild front end to Kim's preference. That improved Kimi's results but it slowed down Romain which make him look worse driver than he actually is.

Also it looked to me that there is a few tracks where Romain performs very well while some other used to be quire bad for him. But he may now improve also bad tracks if Haas has really good car like it looks from testing and first race.
DK RenaultFM1 26 Mar 2018 14:100
Posts: 100
@MICHEILHIMSELF Groejan can get podiums as well as Perez was able to do. Hulkenberg just not able get it right. Could even not defend RIC overtake this weekend where most drivers was able hold their positions.
US renaultFanF1 26 Mar 2018 14:320
Posts: 80
Ric is driving Red Bull which probably has the best car aerodynamically, and as far as I remember Grosjean was slower than KMag which says something
US ajpennypacker 26 Mar 2018 16:050
Posts: 1507
This is not about performance l, about personal dislike for Nico Hulkenberg. I still don't know exactly what he did that you dislike the guy so much. Was it the schooling on Kmag and the subsequent interview? At any rate, you'll find very few people that agree with you on Hulk and on Grosjean for that matter.
US mcbhargav 26 Mar 2018 17:480
Posts: 790
Agreed. Hulk is proving more of a 2nd rate driver, but he is doing better than Sainz at the moment. So, i will still wait to judge him.
SE calle.itw 26 Mar 2018 18:230
Posts: 5882
I dont really think so. Especially considering that there were very little of the lapping that we had last year. Then again, Melbourne doesnt tend to be very representative, despite what Red Bull said.
Posts: 140
Very true. Last spring we had sometimes only top 6 or about only top 6 on same lap. Now we had nearly everyone staying on same lap. But safety car in middle helped bottom half of midfield avoid getting lapped. But still Haas, Renault and McLaren shouldn't be anywhere close to be lapped this year unless there is a track that favors one of top teams over midfield teams. (Excluding very short laps)
GB Major Tom 26 Mar 2018 21:240
Posts: 143
I'm sure Hulkenberg is right, at least for this race. The qualify gap between the top three team at the next qualifier (Haas in both this year and last) was half a second last year and one second this. I think it was much the same in the race.

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Driver profile
Name DE Nico Hülkenberg
Active As Renault Driver in Formula 1
Date of birth Aug 19 1987 (31)
Weight 70 kg
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