Hulkenberg: On a whole, 2018 has been a good building year

Hulkenberg: On a whole, 2018 has been a good building year

Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Renault
photo: Renault Sport

Nico Hulkenberg left Brazil with a feeling of frustration. But the German heads to Abu Dhabi in a determined and fired up frame of mind, as he eyes up a bright finish to the 2018 season with plenty still to play for.

What’s the Yas Marina Circuit like to drive?

Yas Marina is a really enjoyable circuit and the facilities there are probably the best of the season. The lap is quite long and strange in a way as it’s difficult to find a rhythm. Getting comfortable with the contrasting corner combinations is important for a fast lap time. Finding a good balance and harmony is also vital as the corners are different through the three sectors, so it’s about getting accustomed and nailing it. The circuit looks more suited to our package than Interlagos, and we head there expecting to be competitive and in the points.

What’s there to say about the high stakes in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi has been the scene of the season finale for the last couple of years and it’s definitely a good venue to round off the year. There’s a lot at stake for the team in the Constructors’ Championship. Last year it went down to the wire and, while this season we have more of a points cushion, we go there knowing there’s a job to do and anything can happen. I’m looking forward to it, though, and I’m aiming for solid points to end a memorable season on a positive note.

What’s the Hulk’s verdict on 2018?

On a whole, 2018 has been a good building year. My second season with Renault was always about progression and continuing the journey the team has outlined. The start of the season was excellent and we more than deserve to finish fourth in the Constructors’. We’ve been the fourth quickest car out there for much of the year, so we just need to finish the job off in Abu Dhabi now. As a racing driver, you’re always pushing for better results. While we’ve scored some outstanding finishes, there’s that desire for more which will be the next step for us.

How do you reflect on Brazil?

It was a disappointing race weekend, but sometimes it plays out like this. We retired as a precaution with the engine looking like it was overheating and it wasn’t worth the risk carrying on. There’s a lot to play for in Abu Dhabi, so it was probably the most sensible approach. We’ll be giving it everything we’ve got.