Hulkenberg: No point in "hammering" engine department

Jonathan Noble

The German and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired within seconds of each other in the closing stages of the Sakhir race with separate power unit issues, having looked on course for a strong double points finish.

With the F1 team's managing director Cyril Abiteboul calling the problems "unacceptable", Hulkenberg thinks that it is important the French car manufacturer rallies around rather than focuses on the blame game.

"It is a hard one to swallow. Not just on me but everyone," said the German. "This is when you realise that F1 is about a team sport.

"The engine guys in Viry and everyone will be very devastated, and down. So for sure, there is no point hammering on them. We need to work as a unit and help each other."

Asked by if it was easier to sort a good car that was unreliable, or a slow car that finished races, Hulkenberg said: "I don't know which one is easier to fix honestly.

"Obviously we have a history with those problems so we want to get on top of them and we need to do it quickly. But I don't have the answer for that one."

Although disappointed with the late retirement, Hulkenberg says he has taken encouragement from the pace shown in the race – as he looked on course to finish best of the rest behind the top three teams.

"I always felt we were in the mix. We are with the midfield pack," he explained. "Maybe sometimes Haas can be a bit quicker but we are there or thereabouts. It is very close.

"It is probably a bit track specific but I always felt that we were not far away from them, and even from leading the midfield. I think things are still close.

"As you saw McLaren was not far behind and Alfa was there, too, so it is the little things that make a difference.

"We certainly are in a good position but we need to keep developing and keep improving this car to stay there."