Sainz: Renault's Hulkenberg would win straight away at top F1 team

Nico Hulkenberg would win races "straight away" at a leading Formula 1 team, reckons his 2018 team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr

Sainz: Renault's Hulkenberg would win straight away at top F1 team

Hulkenberg won F1's 'Class B' fight last season, finishing seventh in the championship behind the drivers at Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

But joining Renault in 2017 to spearhead its works team effort represented a longer-term project as the French manufacturer is a recent re-addition to the grid.

That means Hulkenberg is still searching for his first podium, holding an F1 record of 156 grand prix starts without a top-three finish.

Sainz, who partnered Hulkenberg for the final four races of 2017 and all of '18, said: "The year that I came to Renault, Nico was having already a very strong year.

"I saw him performing at the highest level I've seen I think [anyone] perform in the midfield for years.

"For me he's one of those guys that you give him a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull he'd win races straight away.

"But unfortunately you guys are not able to see it, not able to calculate it, as Formula 1 works like that.

"Nico is one of those guys that I've learned a lot from and I'm going to go to McLaren with that experience, having shared a team with one of the most talented drivers in the grid right now."

Hulkenberg will need Renault to make a significant step to end his podium drought this season, having trailed the big three teams by a considerable margin.

Renault has openly admitted its disappointment at the size of that margin last year, but Sainz reckons the team he leaves behind is well placed to progress.

"I hope so because then it means they are also improving the engine and the engine goes to McLaren and the McLaren also starts working," Sainz joked.

"I see a lot of good guys here, I've met people like [chassis technical director] Nick Chester that are top guys, and people really willing to make it back to winning ways.

"I wish them the best. I know it's a hard process. I don't know how much time they want to cut it back, but it's between one-and-a-half and two seconds in qualifying every time."

Sainz ended last season 16 points behind Hulkenberg, winning Class B just once all season as his team-mate managed that feat at six races.

While he rates his team-mate highly, Sainz believes the final table was misleading.

"I'm not entirely happy [with] the amount of points I got in my good weekends," he said.

"The amount of points I get at the end of the season is not the amount that I think I deserve or the amount that I wish for."

shares
comments
Williams: Hamilton exposure will be 'extremely valuable' for Russell

Previous article

Williams: Hamilton exposure will be 'extremely valuable' for Russell

Next article

Renault: F1's new rules for 2019 will put back top teams

Renault: F1's new rules for 2019 will put back top teams
Load comments
Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver Plus

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021