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Deficit to leaders is 'bad news' for Renault - Hulkenberg

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Renault's Nico Hulkenberg says the gap between F1's mid-field and its trio of front-runners points to a lot of hard work ahead for the French outfit.

While Renault certainly wasn't expecting to close its deficit to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull over the winter, the team was hopeful of inching a bit closer.

There is no doubting the squad's progress, with Hulkenberg taking away many positives from the Melbourne weekend, but a big shortfall in performance remains.

"The guys ahead of us were a long way ahead," said the German driver.

"We wanted to reduce the gap in the winter, but it seems that it has grown even more. That is not good. We have a lot of work to do."

The German driver did not single out a specific weakness, insisting Renault's as a whole required improvement.

"In my opinion it's everything," he said.

"It's all about the little details. It's partly the engine, partly the aerodynamics, but also the chassis, the dynamics, the mechanicals, and so on."

Hulkenberg underlined however the good foundation on which rests Renault's R.S.18 and the team's promising start to its 2018 campaign.

"We have a good basis for further work," said the 2015 Le Mans winner.

"Before Grosjean and Magnussen went out, we were at their pace and also McLaren's. This year we have a good car at the beginning of the season."

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