Hulkenberg 'really wrestling' with Renault race pace

© XPB 

Nico Hulkenberg admitted that he had really been fighting with his car during a gruelling Bahrain Grand Prix.

The German driver managed to clinch Renault's first points of the season with ninth place on Sunday, having qualified in seventh.

“It’s good to have the first points of the season on the board. I think I had a good race given the pace of the car," he said after the race.

"I really wrestled with it a lot.

"We are a lot better in qualifying. But over the 57 laps of the race we exposed some of the areas where we need to improve."

Although he lost a position in the opening lap, Hulkenberg was able to run in a solid eighth place until pitting under the safety car. He continued to maintain his position during the middle stint but dropped another place in the final round of stops.

"Two points were the best we could do on the strategy we ran," he confirmed.

Hulkenberg said that Sunday's performance showed where the car needed improving over the coming weeks.

"Fortunately, I am testing here on Tuesday," he pointed out. "So we have a great opportunity to make progress.

"We have some updates for evaluation when I’m in the car, which will hopefully improve our race pace by a big chunk for Sochi."

His team mate Jolyon Palmer started in tenth place on the grid but also lost positions as the Grand Prix wore on. He finished in 13th place after tangling with McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso's Dannil Kvyat during the race.

"It was a tough race," admitted the Briton. "I had a good fight with Alonso and Kvyat after the safety car bunched everyone up. But the couple of touches with Kvyat didn’t help.

I didn’t really have the pace to get further after that. The degradation seemed to be more for us than the cars around. It made for a difficult evening, unfortunately, where we struggled with a lack of pace."

GALLERY: All the action from the Bahrain Grand Prix

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