Nico Hulkenberg encouraged by Renault's 2017 development

Nico Hülkenberg says he has been encouraged by Renault’s progress through 2017, both on-track and behind-the-scenes, as he prepares to bring his maiden season with the manufacturer to a close.

Renault, having finished in ninth upon its full-time return to Formula 1 in 2016, recruited Hülkenberg from Force India to lead its recovery, and he has scored 35 of its 49 points.

Renault, which holds seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, has been unable to meet its pre-season goal of fifth, but Hülkenberg nonetheless expressed optimism over its prospects long-term.

“This year has been about progress and development,” said Hülkenberg, who has taken a best race finish of sixth this season.

“I’ve got to know a new team, and one that has been developing strongly over the course of the year. We’ve made progress with the car and our performance.

“Of course, we’ve wanted more in terms of results, but I think we have put many things in place behind the scenes, which will enable us to fight for better positions in the future, and that’s always been the aim.”

On next weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hülkenberg said: “The circuit itself is quite amazing and the facilities are really impressive.

“It’s a long lap with a weird rhythm so it’s key to get comfortable with the change of flow.

“The corners are a lot different to each other so it’s vital to find a good balance, get accustomed to the conditions and master it.

“Abu Dhabi is a really fun place for a season finale. I’ve finished in the top seven three times in the last three years so I’m looking forward to it and ready to fight for some points.

“The Constructors’ Championship will go down to the wire for sixth in Abu Dhabi and I’m really relishing the challenge.

“The track should suit us better than Interlagos. It’s the season finale, there’s plenty at stake and that makes me very excited.”