Abiteboul says Hulkenberg 'instrumental' to Renault progress ahead of final race

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Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has described Nico Hulkenberg's three years at the team as "instrumental" to their progress.

When the German made the jump from Force India for 2017, it was seen as his last chance to fulfil his potential in Formula 1 having spent his career stuck in the midfield.

His impact was strong too as Renault moved from the back of the grid to finish 'best of the rest' last year.

But with Esteban Ocon replacing him for 2020, this weekend will likely see Hulkenberg's final race in F1 and Abiteboul is keen to end on a high.

“[Nico’s] contribution has been instrumental in our reconstruction and progression,” the Frenchman said via Formula1.com.

“We have harnessed his experience and ability to deliver strong results and he has played an important role in Renault’s Formula 1 journey. We want to ensure we end our time together with the best result possible.”

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Perhaps the only disappointment for Hulkenberg is that the strong gains Renault made the past two years did not continue in 2019, with the team set to finish fifth in the Constructors' standings.

"This season has admittedly had its fair share of ups and downs," he reflected.

"Obviously, my seventh-place finish in Australia was a positive way to kick start the season for us, and the results we delivered in Canada, and later Monza, shows the progress we’ve made on tracks where a strong power unit is essential.

"Overall, I would say we’ve learnt a lot and can be confident of finishing the season well in Abu Dhabi."

More broadly though, Hulkenberg is proud of what he's done with the French manufacturer.

"It’s been three memorable years for me at Renault," he said.

"There have been highs and lows, but I’ve enjoyed my time as a driver here. We’ve had some great results and some ‘nearly’ moments, all of which I’ll remember for a very long time.

"I’d like to thank everyone at the team including my engineers and mechanics for all their effort over the last 61 races. We have one more to go and we’ll be giving it our all for the best possible result."