Raikkonen hoping for better luck in Shanghai

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Kimi Raikkonen says he’s hoping things will go his way in Shanghai this weekend after failing to score in China last year.

It was the only race all season in which the 2007 champion failed to place in the top ten and bring home points.

“There was some good racing and it looked like a strong result could have been possible, but we ran out of rubber during the final stint and didn’t score any points,” said Raikkonen.

“Hopefully we’ll be a little bit more lucky with the tire performance this time and well prepared from a strategy point of view. We had the race pace in 2012, that’s true, but we tried to carry on with our tires for too long. They dropped off, and that was it.

“On the other hand without trying to push with those tactics, we would never have been fighting for top positions. If you look at last year we didn’t have a bad car for China, and if we get the car working as well as we did on Friday at Sepang, we should do well in Shanghai too.”

Raikkonen won the opening round of the season in Australia but struggled to seventh in Malaysia. He picked up front wing damage on the first lap and spent much of the middle part of the race stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.

Raikkonen criticized his rival’s driving on the team radio during the race, saying: “Did you see what he’s been doing? He pushes me off and now he hits me.”

The Lotus driver played down the incident afterwards, saying: “It was racing and that’s what we’re all here for. There were a few times where it got pretty close. There are things you should and shouldn’t do but this is racing and at the end of the day I don’t think it changed our result too much.”

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.