In qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix, Nico Hullkenberg missed sixth place by 0067 seconds and thus the honor of leading the pursuit field. This sixth rank went to McLaren pilot Carlos Sainz. Hilkenberg landed in position seven and thus had his Renault teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who became the tenth, in a relaxed grip. With the relocation of Red Bull pilot Max Verstappen on Sunday, Hullkenberg will attack six in a row three starting place.
Hiding will most likely not be held. I don’t think so. He definitely has too much Pace,”says Hullkenberg.”This is not our race. We’re going against McLaren. And the Haas are working again this weekend. Phoenix from the ashes. And the Toro Rossos were pretty damn fast this weekend. I think we will all be relatively close together in the race.”
The German therefore expects a great and exciting fight in the chase field. This weekend, Hullkenberg sees himself in a good position, because from the first round on Friday, the feeling was right. We tried something yesterday because you always have to try something because you want to tickle more and more performance. But we almost got back to the original in the end. It’s like that sometimes. This is a matter of sentiment.”
Hullkenberg:”We are artists”
“At the end of the day we are somehow artists, and sometimes an artist has a better feeling in the car and sometimes a worse one,”philosophizes”Hulk.” This weekend has been very good since the first round. The car did what I wanted. I think I gave the right inputs, too. It just felt good. The rounds can then be produced more easily and more consistently. The art is to always have it. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.”
Hilkenberg has to leave Renault at the end of the season and possibly also formula 1. Performances such as Sochi qualification show that the 32-year-old is still fast, because Ricciardo was slower in Q3 by almost four tenths of its customers.” I’ve been missing some Pace all weekend and I haven’t been as fast as Nico,”the Australian sighs.”I’m a little short of Pace. We cross-referenced the data in the meeting, and I lose a little here and there. This sums up over the round.”
Ricciardo lacks confidence in the rear
“It is nothing special. I just wasn’t that fast. I’m glad I made it to Q3, but place ten is the worst place in Q3. It’s okay,”Ricciardo assesses his result. The biggest distance was from him in the second sector. He had more confidence in the release of the brake and had more confidence in the rear. His curve peed was a little better and he gave gas earlier.”
“I delayed the car a little more so that everything would be quieter when I get back on the gas. You can see he had a little more faith than I did. The rest of the round was fine, she was clean. But clean wasn’t fast,”said Ricciardo. Especially in the curves 7, 8 and 10 he drove more carefully so that the rear end does not break out and the rear tyres do not overheat. On Friday, Ricciardo had turned around at the end of the morning training and is easily caught up in the distance. Is that why you don’t trust me?” I think,”the 30-year-old ponders. I checked out Friday. If I have a crash, I can usually eliminate it immediately. If I understand what happened, I can attack the same section of the line again. But that was not the case.”
“I think it is partly because of me and on the other hand Nico was just faster since Friday morning. He has a good feeling here and we all know that he has the potential to be very fast. I think he’s got it all figured out this weekend,”Ricciardo says. He does not worry much, because the pendulum can quickly eject in one direction or the other.
So says Hullkenberg: “Our cars have been very, very similar since Friday and still are. But it was the same in Monza or Singapore, but it made him feel better. Or mostly he felt better this year or he was a little faster. Sometimes it’s just little things, a little here, a little there. It’s never a big deal. Even when he was in the front, it was usually pretty close between us. There are always little things and nuances.”
On Sunday the duel in the McLaren/Renault chase field is. In the World Cup, McLaren 22 points ahead of the French team.