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Nico Hulkenberg still has bitter taste over German GP retirement

Nico Hulkenberg has not made the start to the season he was hoping for. Clive Mason/Getty Images

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Nico Hulkenberg still has a bitter taste in his mouth from his retirement from a promising position at the German Grand Prix last weekend.

Hulkenberg was running in the top five for most of the afternoon as the conditions mixed up the order in the wildest race in recent memory. He looked well placed to end the unenviable streak he carries with him - his name in the record books states he has the most F1 race starts without a visit to the podium -- until he slid off the circuit at the final corner on lap 40 of 64.

"I think it will still take a little while longer," Hulkenberg said of the disappointment. "This weekend obviously once you're in the car once you have to work your mind is over it but no that stings deep I have to say from Hockenheim.

"We rock and rolled for 40 laps, I think I drove a pretty amazing race up to that point and as a team we did a great job that is mainly made of right calls, strategies, tyre choices, blah blah blah. Hence we were in the position we were in, which is quite good and yeah unusual for us. Yeah then we saw obviously what happened.

"As I say, I feel that. I can't even call it a mistake, I lost the rear end of the car going into turn 16 and I had to correct and I ended up a little bit next to the track. These conditions, that's what happens."

When asked how he feels to carry the record with him, he said: "To be honest I'm not affected by that. It just doesn't depress me and doesn't do anything to me."

He added: "I'm not superstitious. I believe that I'm not superstitious at all. If you make your own luck then I don't seem to be very good at it."

His frustration with how his race unravelled is not just linked to the end result or the perception of his career to date. Hulkenberg was one of a number of drivers who lost control at that point in the race track -- afterwards, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was critical of the tarmac on the edge of the corner, saying he had simply been a passenger when he had gone wide.

Hulkenberg shared that assessment and said he raised it to FIA race director Michael Masi on the first opportunity he got ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Conditions were very difficult and challenging out there and everyone lost their car and I was next to the track at some point and I just chose the wrong corner. I feel that the run off area in that area was not the normal tarmac. I don't know what it was, I think it was paint. It was just aquaplaning with zero grip. Once you put a wheel off there you lose it.

"Especially the way I went in a straight-line, I tried everything within the one second I had but it was basically game over from there and yeah it feels out of proportion for the size of the mistake if you want to call it that and the kind of price of consequences we had to pay. It's way out of proportion and the way I feel is that the race got taken away from us and what could've been a very good result."

-"I'm all for track limits and if you disrespect them you should pay the price but here in this case I think the fact is that this run off area had this kind of paint, I don't know what it is and we don't have it at any other circuit."

"I didn't know the tarmac was that slippery there, it was the first time I went off there. First and last time!"

When it was pointed out that other drivers, including five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, also made mistakes, he said: "It doesn't help [the feeling]. It doesn't cover anything.

"It doesn't ease the pain. It just shows that something was wrong in that corner with the run off area. But unfortunately all the other colleagues, apart from Charles, he was on slicks so that's different, but all the others kind of went off differently.

"Probably a bigger mistake and had the chance to recover and the way I went off, the angle I went off, I had no chance of recovering. That's very frustrating and very painful because it's something in that time that I couldn't correct anymore but it's something that is not in line with our normal standards. Also, in a way it's related to safety. Because when you can't control the car it's never safe. You saw Lewis wasn't far from hitting Charles's car....yeah, not great."