Nico Hulkenberg sees no reason to get carried away by the “hype” of Renault’s best grid position since it made a return to Formula 1, because he is still wary about its race pace.
The German was sixth fastest in qualifying for the British Grand Prix but moves up to fifth on the grid because of Valtteri Bottas’s grid penalty. It is the Renault works team’s best qualifying result since Robert Kubica lined up third at the 2010 Japanese GP.
But although Renault has taken huge encouragement from the performance, Hulkenberg is refusing to get too carried away – because the team’s long-run form has been an issue all season.
“We had it a few times this year: a super Saturday and a poor Sunday,” said Hulkenberg. “That I don’t like. This is why I don’t want to hype this Saturday. It doesn’t help anyway. Plus I’m earning my money on the Sunday.
“It’ll be difficult. We don’t have the same long run pace as Force India, for example, or Haas and Williams. So it’s going to be tough.
“I don’t want to be a pessimist and I will give it my all, but you have to be realistic. It won’t be a continuation of today’s qualifying form, that’s for sure. It works fine on fresh tyres in qualifying but after two or three laps on, the tyre reality kicks in.
“We can switch on the tyres pretty quickly. Other teams have more issues with that and therefore we beat them in qualifying. However, they have an advantage in the race.”
Hulkenberg’s pace in qualifying was helped by a new floor that Renault has introduced at Silverstone which the German thinks should deliver even more over the next few races.
“I think it is worth a bit but it’s difficult to say how much exactly,” he said. “We don’t know for sure yet. A few tenths, maybe.
“Without the upgrade Force India would have been in…