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Hülkenberg saves Renault in sixth at Silverstone

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Hulkenberg saves Renault at the GP England 2018
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R enault fought at the start of the season with HaasF1 for the title of fourth-fastest car in the field. First Nico Hülkenberg delivered the results, from the GP Azerbaijan then Carlos Sainz as well. No team was so consistent in the tightly packed midfield. Therefore, Renault built a cushion on the pursuers of HaasF1, Force India and McLaren.

But since the French GP one has the feeling that things are going downhill instead of uphill with the French factory racing team. Renault falls back in the midfield although the aim is actually to narrow the gap with the top three teams. In Austria, a defective turbocharger destroyed Nico Hulkenberg's race. Carlos Sainz tormented the tires.

One week later the negative trend continued at Silverstone. No Renault made it into the third qualifying round. Others were faster in the race. Nevertheless, Nico Hülkenberg reached the goal in sixth. Because of a good start, good tactics and good driving performance. The long Rhinelander knew how to assess the result. “We got away happily. We have homework to do, we have to take things in hand in order to be better off in qualifying and the race. ”

Too little power, too little downforce

At the start, Hülkenberg grabbed himself from the outside the Sauber by Charles Leclerc. Then he benefited from the turmoil in the next corner. Triggered by the push from Kimi Raikkonen against Lewis Hamilton. The World Cup seventh finished the starting lap in sixth and saw the checkered flag in the same position. Hamilton overtook him on lap 10. He regained the place 36 laps later after Max Verstappen retired. It was a difficult race, as Hulkenberg admitted. “On Friday the car was good on the long runs. In the race, I couldn't find a balance in the car. ”Renault got lost with the setup all weekend in search of more speed.

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Nico Hülkenberg challenges the Renault development team.

The layout of Silverstone presented the RS18 with two problems. Too little engine power and too little downforce in fast corners. Renault's V6 is missing between 30 and 40 hp on the engines of Ferrari and Mercedes. At Silverstone that costs not only on the straights, but also in the corners that are driven through with the accelerator depressed: such as corners 1, 2 and 9, for example. Or in super-fast corners that are braked briefly and crossed with a slightly lifted foot on the accelerator. The Renault V6 does not withstand the high centrifugal forces, the engine speed drops and it takes time until the resulting power hole is filled up again.

Both Renault drivers stated that they suffered particularly between Luffield and Maggotts. The piece between curves 7 and 10 goes under full load. Renault refrained from flattening the wings. “You don't need flat wings like in Baku at Silverstone to be able to overtake or not to be sniffed,” explained Operations Manager Alan Permane.

Otherwise, the drivers would have fought even more in the fast corners than before. Fast corners and fast changes of direction are the weak point of the R.S. 18. “We saw that in Paul Ricard and Spielberg,” said Carlos Sainz. “The problem has been known since the beginning of the season,” adds Permane. Even the small aero updates for Silverstone did not cure the problems.

Renault upgrade for Hockenheim

HaasF1, Force India and Sauber were faster in England. Therefore Renault had to do something different strategically to beat the opponents. They started on medium and switched to hard tires with Hülkenberg on lap 20. Only Renault used the slicks with the light blue marking in the Grand Prix. 'Our only chance to get through with a stop.' The R.S.18 is one of the tire eaters in the field. Another deficit.

On the concrete tires, Hülkenberg had the softer soled competition on his neck. On lap 30, Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and team-mate Sainz were right behind him. 'I was fast enough in the sections where it really mattered,' said Hülkenberg.

The 2015 Le Mans winner was not open to attack. Although his Renault was only 308.2 km /h fast at the end of the straight without DRS, and the opponents behind it were over ten km /h faster. The result was the seventh point result for Hülkenberg this year. The eight points were enough to keep the opponents in check in the battle for fourth place in the World Championship. Force India scored seven points, McLaren four and HaasF1, the first Renault chaser, only two. Renault has to and wants to go to Hockenheimrefill. An upgrade has been announced.

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