Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul says Nico Hulkenberg will be forgiven for the mistake which cost the team a potential double points finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. 

Hulkenberg, starting the race from 14th after picking up a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change after FP3, made significant progress and found himself battling with teammate Carlos Sainz and the Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in the early stages of Sunday's race. 

Having swiftly dispatched the Red Bull pair, Sainz and Hulkenberg ran fourth and fifth in Baku until Hulkenberg lost control at Turn 4 and slammed into the barriers, causing significant suspension damage that forced him into retirement. 

Sainz took advantage of a chaotic race to finish fifth, recording Renault’s best finish since returning to F1 as a full works squad in 2016. 

“Last year it was the only mistake that he’s done so frankly if it has to be the same again, one mistake a season in Baku, that is done, let’s move on and he will be more than forgiven for that,” Abiteboul said. “He missed an opportunity to be part of that party because it was clearly an amazing race.”

Hulkenberg revealed he had been suffering with rear locking on corner entry prior to his accident, and believes strong wind conditions witnessed on race day also played a factor in his race-ending crash. 

“We started well but I just lost the rear end at the end of turn four and that was my race done really. I had some rear locking going into that corner and the wind was difficult and it didn’t take much to throw me off. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is sometimes.”