31 May 2012
Hulkenberg rues Raikkonen pace
Like Sebastian Vettel before him, Nico Hulkenberg has cited Kimi Raikkonen's lack of pace for costing him a better result in Monaco.
Nico Hulkenberg believes he should have finished ahead of Force India team-mate Paul di Resta in last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, but blamed the Principality's traditional traffic problems for 'only' managing eighth place.
Although happy to have added to his points tally for the second race in succession - after tenth place in Spain two weeks previously - the German felt that his strategy of starting on the softer Pirelli rubber had been compromised by catching slower cars after his one and only stop on lap 29 of the 78-lap race.
Qualifying eleventh fastest allowed Hulkenberg the option of choosing his tyres for the start of the race and, in plumping for the supersoft, he clearly hoped to make early ground before digging in for a longer run to the flag on the harder 'soft' compound. While his early progress was helped by the chaos the evolved around Romain Grosjean's spin, spending four laps behind a slower-than-expected Kimi Raikkonen cost the Force India any chance of making up further places when others made their stops.
"I think, from a team perspective, we can be happy because we picked up a few points, which is good," he admitted, "It was pretty messy [at the start]. I was on the inside, so I didn't see what happened exactly, I just suddenly saw a Lotus square in front of me. The only way to avoid it was to go on the inside because [the road] was blocked with cars on the left, [and], luckily, I got through there without any contact. I was ninth after the first lap so I gained a place.
"I would rather have finished seventh, but it was the classic example in Monaco of stopping a bit earlier and then running into traffic with Kimi. Paul got just the edge there with a free track and came out in front. I was starting on the supersoft and he was on the soft, so it was always clear that he was going a bit longer. Mine would have worked better, but obviously, with the traffic, things didn't come together."
Hulkenberg finally got past Raikkonen when the Finn was baulked by Sergio Perez, who cut across his bows to enter the pits and allowed the Force India driver to pass both cars in one move out of Rascasse. Thereafter, he ran in tandem with his team-mate, eventually crossing the line a second apart.
"The car was good," he reported, "It performed well, [and] I think we showed some good speed there. I did a 1min 18.4secs [faster than any driver finishing ahead of him] when I had a clear lap after the stop."
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