Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Nico Hülkenberg took a fine sixth position in an exciting and action-packed Heineken Chinese Grand Prix today.
Nico fought through an eventful first lap, managed his tyres well and was able to take advantage of a safety car period for his second stop to be in the fight for the positions ahead come the end of the 56-lap race. Carlos fought a similar race to finish ninth, also challenging for the position ahead on the final lap.
• Nico started the race from P7 on his qualifying Ultrasoft (purple) Pirelli tyres, pitting on lap 13 from P7 for a new set of Medium tyres, followed by a stop under the safety car on lap 31 from P7 for a new set of Softs.
• Carlos started the race from P9 on his qualifying Ultrasoft tyres, stopping on lap 12 from P9 for a new set of Medium tyres, followed by a stop under the safety car from P9 on lap 31 for a new set of Softs.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02: Started P7, finished P6.
“Everyone seemed to have low grip at the start with cars sliding all over the place. We were on a two-stop strategy from the beginning, so we had to make the tyre last, while maintaining strong pace. It paid off well, the safety car played to our hands and made things easier, but even without the safety car I think we would have come out on top. The pace was good today and we were on top of the midfield, so not a bad day overall. Eight points, we’ll take that home. It was an entertaining one, that’s for sure!”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-01: Started P9, finished P9.
“Double points for the team again this year! Well done! I made a really good start moving on one of the Red Bulls but he squeezed me out on the first lap, moving back a couple of places behind Nico. From there we managed to cover two-stops with the aid of the safety car. On my last stint, traffic behind Alonso and Magnussen degraded my tyres too much and I had to save them in order to have a better opportunity at the end of the race. It was really close with Vettel…had there been another lap I would have had him. Overall I’m happy to score more points but I still need to work hard with my engineers to get full confidence with the car.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal:
“Today was obviously a good day for the team which shows we are gaining in maturity. We had decent starting positions with both cars in the top ten, but that actually put us in a difficult position with our race strategy as we knew we would have to do two stops when the competitors around us were in a position to complete the race with one. But thanks to a strong first lap and many very clean overtaking moves from our drivers we made that work. The safety car helped slightly but I don’t think it would have changed much. The team is building and getting stronger across the board. Our pace was encouraging, as was the win of Daniel Ricciardo, showing the Renault power unit is getting there and is a race-win capable engine.”