Nico Hulkenberg admits he was “relieved” to finally get his final Formula 1 race over and done with driving with Renault, even though he just missed out on a top 10 finish in Abu Dhabi.
A few months ago, Renault confirmed they would not be renewing his contract, with Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon coming in as his replacement for next season.
Having failed to claim another seat with another team for 2020, he will end his near-decade tenure within the sport after debuting in 2010.
After all the attention the news generated, he is glad it is now all over.
“I’m kind of relieved that it’s all over,” he told Sky Sports.
“When everyone talks about it you keep getting those questions and comment it’s obviously a little bit tense, a strange feeling, but happy that I’ve done a good race, thrown everything at it when I could.
“It was a shame not to get that point in the end, but the one-stop was hard to pull off, and at the end, my tyres were just degrading too much and I couldn’t hang on to it.
“But still I thought it was a positive race where the pace was good and we were in the fight, but unfortunately some of the others had an advantage on strategy, and always driving in traffic is really hard.
“A worthy final race for me, happy, relieved to cross the line with good feelings.
He finished with some praise for his team, even though both parties haven’t enjoyed too much success in the partnership.
“Saying thank you to the team, three years over, good, not fantastic years, but still it was cool and fun at times. We had highs and lows together, but definitely I have to say thank you to them,” he added.
Hulkenberg still holds the unfortunate record of starting the most F1 races in history without winning a spot on the podium.