Hulkenberg: Renault's Bahrain meltdown a "brutal moment"

Nico Hulkenberg has described his retirement from the Bahrain Grand Prix as a "brutal moment", after both he and teammate Daniel Ricciardo exited the race within moments of each other.

Hulkenberg: Renault's Bahrain meltdown a "brutal moment"

The German was on course for a top-six finish, after battling through a ‘war zone’ of an opening lap, but was robbed of a strong result when he suffered an engine problem just two laps from home.

Moments later, Ricciardo stopped at the same corner with what was later confirmed as an MGU-K issue.

With Renault left shellshocked by the events, Hulkenberg said he too found it hard to accept that a good result had been taken away so quickly.

“In my mind I had it booked already," he said. "But it just shows you have to bring it home full race distance.

“Without that, three laps, I was controlling everything. I had a gap to [Lando] 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 managed to charge through the field from 17th on the grid, after what he described was a crazy opening segment to the race.

“Lap one was like a war zone. It was crazy,” he said. “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.”

Bahrain GP action

Bahrain GP action

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said Renault had “previously encountered” the issues it experienced late on, which he said were becoming “increasingly frustrating and unacceptable”.

“After a very intense winter, it’s been a very bad start to our racing season,” said Abiteboul.

“Similar to Melbourne, our qualifying in Bahrain was massively compromised by minor electronics issues, which impacted both cars.

“Our race today came to a sudden stop so close to the finish. These are issues we have previously encountered but something we were unable to rectify in Bahrain.

“These problems are increasingly frustrating and unacceptable as both cars have shown very good competitiveness both over one-lap and race runs.

“Nico delivered another outstanding drive from seventeenth to sixth.

“Daniel is building on precious experience in the car, and despite good race pace, his strategy gamble didn’t work out.

“Daniel will continue his familiarisation in the car during this week’s test conducting performance-related work.

“We must react and shift our focus on reliability.”

More from Bahrain GP:

shares
comments
Ferrari: Leclerc problem not related to MGU-H

Previous article

Ferrari: Leclerc problem not related to MGU-H

Next article

F1 Debrief: All you need to know after the Bahrain GP

F1 Debrief: All you need to know after the Bahrain GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Sub-event Race
Author Jonathan Noble
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021