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Hülkenberg breaks points duck, but bemoans Williams' lack of pace

Williams rookie Nico Hülkenberg is pleased to notch up his first F1 point in the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang - but rues the fact that it was achieved more by dint of reliability than out-and-out raw pace
Despite breaking his F1 points duck with a solitary marker for tenth place in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang, top flight Nico Hülkenberg was left bemoaning Williams' lack of pace that has left the former world champions unable to do much but pick up the scraps that fall from the table.

Hülkenberg and ultra-experienced team-mate Rubens Barrichello lined up respectively fifth and seventh on the starting grid in Kuala Lumpur, but even then the reigning GP2 Series Champion hinted that the result somewhat flattered Williams' true level of competitiveness [see separate story – click here]. Come race day, he would be proved right.

Wirth his cause not aided by losing track position at the start and then having to pit early for a new steering wheel, as faster rivals made their way through the field, Hülkenberg was relegated to duelling over the final points-paying positions with Scuderia Toro Rosso rival Jaime Alguersuari, who ultimately got the better of him in the race's closing stages. That left the 22-year-old a frustrated tenth at the chequered flag.

“We picked up a point today, maybe because our car was more reliable, but that's racing,” he mused afterwards. “It was a tough race because we just don't have the pace at the moment. I wish we could do better, but we have some work to do to catch up.”

Those sentiments were broadly corroborated by Barrichello, who fell down to plum last when the starting lights went out when his Cosworth-powered FW32 inexplicably stalled. The Brazilian veteran drove well after that to recover to twelfth place – but he too was left to rue Williams' underwhelming form.

“I don't know what happened at the start,” confessed the 37-year-old Paulista, the most experienced competitor in F1 history. “I'll go through that with the team. From there I went to the back of the field. We tried a different strategy to get us back up, but our car was just not competitive. We lost a nice opportunity today.”

“We had a difficult race this afternoon from which we've come away with one point,” summarised the Grove-based outfit's technical director Sam Michael. “Both drivers struggled with the start – Rubens didn't get enough drive and Nico had excessive wheelspin.

“We chose to pit Rubens early and put him on the harder tyre, as he was being held up in traffic. Nico also had to pit early as we had an electrical problem on his steering wheel which was preventing us from changing the engine mixture. Our focus remains on improving our pace and starts.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams Cosworth FW32
Friday Practice 2, Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams, FW32
Qualifying, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
Saturday Practice, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
29.07.2016 - Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
29.07.2016 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
29.07.2016 - Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
29.07.2016 - Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
29.07.2016 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
29.07.2016 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
29.07.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
29.07.2016 - Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
29.07.2016 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
29.07.2016 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
29.07.2016 - Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
29.07.2016 - Pirelli Tyres
29.07.2016 - Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16

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