Renault’s F1 Russian GP was one for the team to forget, as Daniel Ricciardo was caught up in a melee on Lap 1 and Nico Hulkenberg suffered massively with multiple errors.
Despite being the only Renault to finish, Hulkenberg suffered throughout the nearly two hours of racing in F1 Russian GP at Sochi Autodrom, with a seven second pit-lane disaster, and an awful start where he lost about three places.
“Can’t be that happy, to be honest, because the car, I think, should’ve been up there with P6,” said Hulkenberg to F1’s Youtube channel. “I should’ve been fighting with Carlos for P6 or kind of but that didn’t happen for us.
“The race, just, everything that could go wrong went wrong, a bad pit stop, then, unfortunately with the safety car, traffic, some engine issues right at the end, so just all very difficult. With these circumstances, you can’t really ask for much more than tenth.
“First off, we lost three or four positions on Lap 1, obviously that’s not great, and it leaves you a bit on the back foot and exposed from there. Then, of course, losing seconds in a pit stop, in a midfield where every tenth matters, is quite costly as well but that’s racing.”
Even though Hulkenberg scored the one point, McLaren extended its advantage in the fight for fourth after Sainz finished sixth and Lando Norris was eighth. It has now 33 points in his hands and barring any miracles for Renault, it won’t be an easy task.
Meanwhile, in the other yellow and black car, things weren’t pleasant either as Ricciardo hand another incident beside his name after Singapore, where he collided with Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi, which sealed his fate.
“I guess that’s the midfield,” started a frustrated Ricciardo. “I just watched the replay. I was on the inside of Turn 4 and Grosjean was on the outside. I expected him to probably defend a little but he left it wide open, so it was quite safe for me, to go on the inside.
“But then I saw the Alfa Romeo [of Giovianzzi] come through as well, and then it was like three cars, and I was like, ‘nope.’ I imagined Grosjean wasn’t going to get the better end of that. I didn’t expect to get hit from the inside, but, obviously, I did.
“We had floor damage, broken diffuser and a puncture. We tried to continue, but obviously I had too much damage to have any pace and the race was pretty much over from the start. Obviously that’s a it’s a shame.
“I’ll just try to look at it on the perspective that if I qualify further up the grid then I am less in the bad stuff. So, I’ll take some responsibility, but obviously, the accident itself, I was just a passenger. I looked at all the onboards and it seems like a racing incident.
“For sure not my fault. It’s a racing incident, but I think sometimes we just have to be a bit smarter,” he concluded. His counterparts shrugged it down to being a racing incident as well with Haas’ Grosjean left wanting others to be a bit smarter as well at the start.
Teammate Kevin Magnussen managed to score which was crucial, while on Alfa Romeo side, it was more disaster with none of their drivers scoring. “I got stuck in the middle between Ricciardo and Grosjean,” started Giovinazzi.
“I don’t know if Daniel knew I had Romain on the outside, but I ended up like in a sandwich. I tried to lift off and avoid contact, but that wasn’t enough and we touched. We’ll need to check if there was any further damage. The car didn’t really feel right afterwards.”
Read how the F1 Russian GP panned out
Ferrari trio react to how the F1 Russian GP went for them
Williams retired Robert Kubica to save parts
Kevin Magnussen, Guenther Steiner did not agree with Russian GP penalty
Lewis Hamilton didn’t think medium tyres was the right strategy
The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani