Nico Hulkenberg believes upcoming races in Belgium and Italy will “make or break” Renault’s 2019 Formula 1 season.

Renault sits sixth in the constructors’ championship and trails current midfield leaders McLaren by 43 points, having failed to finish inside the top 10 since a double points finish at the British Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg, who crashed out in wet conditions in Germany while running in a podium position, is hopeful of a turnaround, starting this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“The break certainly came at a welcome time for us after a disappointing July,” Hulkenberg said.

“We know the season has fallen below our expectations so far and it’s up to us now to ensure we recover it for the remainder of the year.

“I relaxed a little, recharged the batteries on a boat in Croatia. But now it’s time to get going again and I’m ready for the challenge.

“These next two back-to-back races are almost a make or break for our season. We have to be on it.”

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo remains upbeat about the French squad’s chances in the second half of the season and believes Renault just needs “cleaner” weekends to catch its rivals.

“It’s been a challenging season so far, we can’t hide from that,” he conceded.

“There have been some positives, some things not so good, so the summer break was ideal for us.

“It was nice to take some time off, have a holiday in Los Angeles, and not think too much about racing. It was the same for the team, so hopefully we’re all feeling refreshed now.

“We’re targeting a better second-half of the season to catch our competitors. I know we can do it, we just need cleaner weekends.”

 

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