RENAULT’S Nico Hulkenberg found it difficult to come to terms with his race being ended before it had barely started at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The German was forced to retire after just three corners at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya following a collision with the Banbury-prepared Haas of Romain Grosjean.

Hulkenberg’s Enstone-based Renault suffered damage to the rear left suspension and, with teammate Carlos Sainz finishing seventh, he was left frustrated at what might have been.

The 30-year-old said: “It was messy into turns one and two, but in turn three it got a lot messier.

“I saw a car spin in front of me and a lot of smoke.

“It happened very quickly so I couldn’t avoid Grosjean spinning backwards into my car.

“It’s a pity as we were competitive. We had good pace so it’s frustrating not to have shown that.

“It’s difficult to swallow, especially when it’s not your fault. We’ll have to try again in two weeks.”

Sainz was thrilled to impress in front of his home fans, scoring points in Barcelona for a fourth successive year.

He said: “I think it’s a very positive result for me and the team.

“We can be very proud of what we’ve achieved as this track was not ideal for us.

“It feels great to get another good result at home.”

Haas driver Grosjean, whose teammate Kevin Magnussen was sixth, remains one of only two drivers yet to score a point.

He said: “There’s not much to say. I lost the rear end in turn three and I just spun.

“I wanted to avoid contact with my teammate.

“Kevin had a bit of a wobble, I lifted off the throttle, and then the car just went.

“I’m sorry for the others that were involved – there wasn’t much I could do once the car went.”

Magnussen enjoyed a much better weekend, finishing sixth and helping the team move into the top six in the constructors championship.

He said: “It was a strong performance and I think we deserved to get the kind of points we’ve scored in Bahrain and Spain.

“It’s good to get some good points on the board.

“I’m happy we’re back more in our deserved position in the constructors’ championship, as well.

“We just need to keep this level up and continue to score regularly.”

Grove-based Williams were unable to build on their points-scoring finish in Azerbaijan two weeks ago.

Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin came 11th and 14th respectively in Barcelona.

But the former, who made up ground from 18th on the grid, was left in an upbeat mood.

He said: “We scored no points but it was a good race.

“I made a good start again with a lot of positions.

“Then it was just steady running and I did everything I could, but just missed out on points.”

Sirotkin, who was handicapped by a three-place grid penalty due to an incident at the last race in Baku, said:: It was a very tough day.

“I had a good start and I was right in the mix before I almost got caught by a couple of spins ahead of me.

“It was the worst I have experienced throughout the whole race.

“I struggled a lot with my seating comfort which we are looking into.”

The next grand prix is in Monaco on May 27.