Renault "two steps behind", says baffled Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg says his Renault Formula 1 team is "two steps behind" following a very difficult Thursday practice ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Renault "two steps behind", says baffled Hulkenberg
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17

After being unable to complete any timed laps in the morning due to an electrical problem, Hulkenberg struggled with the handling of his car in the afternoon.

The German finished down in 17th position, over two seconds off the pace, after having balance and grip issues.

Hulkenberg admitted he was at a loss to explain why his car was handling so poorly.

"I don't know, I can't tell you at this moment. I'm scratching my head as well," he said. "I'm a bit surprised with the car and a balance that I found and the grip in P2, which is very poor and far away from what I expected it to be.

"So we need to really investigate what's going on, because I'm sure something is not right. It felt really poor out there, not just that I'm struggling with the balance a lot and confidence in the car, but also the grip from the tyres what we get seems really odd and poor.

"It's far from ideal that we missed P1, because now we are like one step behind or two steps behind, because had we found that out in the morning we could have reacted already big time before P2, trying to fight it. We did not have that opportunity, so it's going to be difficult."

The Renault driver said he was struggling so much at the start of FP2 that he was ignoring his laptimes.

"Straight from first run I felt like I'm not going anywhere," he admitted. "I wasn't even looking at my laptimes initially, because I know they were terrible. You feel its just not there.

"Tricky day, so a bit of a challenge ahead of us."

Renault's day was made worse by a Hulkenberg's teammate Jolyon Palmer suffering an engine problem in FP2 that left him with just eight laps completed.

The Briton also felt there was something not working for Renault.

"I think we're not working the tyres very well, really," he said. "I think we're missing something here. The balance isn't so bad but I think we're missing grip.

"We have a day to work out what's going wrong and I'm sure we can do something for Saturday."

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov

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