Abiteboul: Hulkenberg run hurt by Ricciardo F1 British GP strategy focus

Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has admitted Nico Hulkenberg was let down by a strategy call while the team was focussing on Daniel Ricciardo during the British Grand Prix

Abiteboul: Hulkenberg run hurt by Ricciardo F1 British GP strategy focus

Ricciardo finished seventh in the race and could have beaten McLaren-Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr to sixth, pictured below, if the safety car had played in its favour.

Hulkenberg was able to take 10th but Abiteboul says Renault left him out on soft tyres for too long during the opening stint, going one lap further than Ricciardo in a 13-lap run, and the German also lost power briefly due to an engine sensor problem.

Abiteboul admitted that the team had prioritised Ricciardo on strategy.

"As far Nico, it's a different type of frustration, because we didn't really help his Sunday," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"He had a challenging race, with a number of small things - including a stop that was probably called too late, we were very focussed on Daniel and Lando [Norris], and very focussed on when to stop, the undercut/overcut.

"In an action-packed race that's never easy, with tyres that are never easy to read. We stopped a bit too late for Nico, lost a position, and he was a bit on the back foot from that point onwards.

"He had a small issue with the engine losing a bit of power due to a sensor problem, which had to be put on default, and that cost him another position. So overall we made Nico's race a bit complex."

Midway through the race, Hulkenberg cut across the path of Racing Point's Sergio Perez and picked up damage to the rear of his car.

Explaining the damage, Abiteboul said: "It's still not totally clear, we need to look into the data, but there seemed to be a bit of disconnection on the rear axle. We played a little bit with the diff, but it's not so obvious that there was an issue."

Abiteboul added that he understood Hulkenberg's frustrations.

"I think due to the fact he was on the back foot his mindset could have been in a better place with the first stop," Abiteboul said.

"He was behind Daniel in qualifying, he was behind Daniel on lap one, he was also calling for a tyre change before Daniel, so clearly his position was to be behind Daniel, it's fair.

"But having said that we could have made his Sunday a bit easier than it's been, and take more points overall for the team. But what hurt us most is the safety car."

Hulkenberg admitted that points had gone astray after a difficult afternoon.

"All in all not fantastic, and quite surprised to still get a point with all of those problems," he said.

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