Nico Hulkenberg: Impatient Charles Leclerc was way too aggressive
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg believes Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was overly optimistic in the overtake attempt that scuppered both of their races in Monaco.
Leclerc, having started from 15th in the wake of Ferrari’s Q1 calamity, passed Lando Norris into the hairpin and Romain Grosjean into Rascasse during the early stages of the race.
But when he tried to pass Hulkenberg at the same spot he made contact with the Renault driver and also clipped the inside barrier.
Hulkenberg had to pit for repairs, and eventually came home outside of the points, while Leclerc sustained a puncture that led to substantial floor damage and his eventual retirement.
“He came first of all from quite far back and then I didn’t leave much of a gap anyway and saw that he launched,” said Hulkenberg.
“I played fair, I opened the steering, and tried to let him some space, tried to let us both live, I think he spun into his own axis, he just kissed me but sliced my rear tyre open and that’s where basically it all started to go wrong.
“But I think he was definitely too ambitious in that moment.
“I could sense it coming but you’ve still got to weigh up your chances as a driver and know when it’s a real opportunity and when not.
“But I think he was a bit impatient and frustrated after [qualifying], but that’s Monaco, doesn’t work like that always.”
It marked Hulkenberg’s fifth straight race outside of the points as his and Renault’s difficult run continued.
“On my out lap the Safety Car was deployed and it gave everyone else 10 seconds, so I lost a couple of positions with that,” he said.
“Then there was the pile-up with [Robert] Kubica, it was going from bad to worse. It went wrong where it could.
“It’s quite frustrating as I think from car pace point of view we should be ahead.
“It’s frustrating not to get it done if the car can do it, the racing circumstances prevented that. But yeah we need to find new fresh traction for Canada.”