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Nico Hulkenberg has paid credit to Renault's strategy switch in the Russian Grand Prix to run a longer first stint in order to gain track position which enabled him to score points for the second straight race.

The German driver endured a tricky opening lap having been shuffled backwards through the pack but opting to push a long first stint before pitting it let him extract the maximum performance from the RS17 and regain track position.

After Felipe Massa's late additional pit stop for a slow puncture Hulkenberg was promoted to eighth place for his second straight points finish for Renault in the opening four races.

"I'm really happy with the strategy we ran, there wasn't too much left from the tyres at the end of that first stint, but we achieved what we set out to do," Hulkenberg said. "I lost track position at the start so we let everyone else pit ahead of us and went as long as we could go on the first set of boots.

"I kept pushing and the car performed really well, staying switched on with the track improvement meaning I was able to get faster and faster.

"I was definitely happier with our race pace today; we've still got more work to do but we've clearly taken a step in the right direction this weekend."

Hulkenberg has leapfrogged the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in the F1 drivers' championship into 11th, while Renault has closed the gap on Haas to two points in the world constructors' championship.


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