Hulkenberg forced to play team game at Renault: 'We need that result'

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Away from the drama at the front, Renault's performance was very much a keynote story from the Canadian Grand Prix.

The French manufacturer had both drivers battling with Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen for much of the race before eventually, their pace on the second set of tyres was too much to live with.

Still, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg would enjoy a sixth and seventh place finish, with the latter very satisfied at how the race played out.

“We were able to continue driving for a long time on the first set of tyres," the German said.

"It went better than expected, I had a good feeling, good rhythm on those soft tyres, so we adjusted the strategy a bit. I continued longer than we had planned, but the pace was good, so a good strategy. 

“It was a pity at the end, I had newer tires than Daniel, but I tried to get past them. 

"But if I sat behind him for one second, my car was overheating and my brakes too, so I had to fall back all the time. So yes, I should have done better yesterday, it would have been better."

Behind the scenes, however, the situation was slightly different as Renault instructed Hulkenberg not to attack Ricciardo in the closing laps.

“Daniel was on slightly older tyres than Nico and also because he had a go at a couple of fast cars, clearly his tyres were not in such good shape,” team boss Cyril Abiteboul explained.

“Probably Nico would have had the pace to overtake him, but frankly we said ‘we need that result’.

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“I don’t like to have to do that, it’s not the style of the team, that’s something that we don’t intend to do on many occasions.

“I wanted to make sure that the team’s back in the game, and the drivers will also be back in the game, their own game, from next week onwards – but for this weekend it was important to get back as close as possible to the team that’s still fourth, which is McLaren.

“He’s a bit upset and I understand why he’s upset.”

Still, their biggest points haul of the season did exactly what Renault wanted, catapulting the team to fifth in the Constructors' standings and just two points behind McLaren.

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