Maldonado expecting tricky German GP

1 Comment

Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to next weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, a track where he has impressed in the past, but has admitted that it could be a tough race for Lotus.

The Venezuelan driver won the GP2 feature race at the track in 2010, and keen on racing at one of his favorite circuits on the calendar.

“I’ve been quite quick there in the past – winning in GP2 – and it’s a fun circuit to drive so we’ll see how it goes,” Maldonado said. “I really like the people there; the fans are great and so many of them come to the race. There is a great atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands.”

However, Maldonado did concede that it could be a difficult weekend for Lotus, although he was pleased with the engine update from Renault that he used at Silverstone earlier this week.

“There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us,” he conceded. “The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible.

“Certainly, the latest engine I used at the Silverstone test feels to be much stronger so that will be a benefit.”

Maldonado retired from the British Grand Prix on the penultimate lap of the race, but he has taken the positives out of the race.

“It was a similar story to other races in that we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight the cars around me,” he said. “I pushed as hard as I could but it was a difficult race and not what I wanted in front of the Enstone team and our fans.

“I’m disappointed to have not scored points but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits.”

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.