Saturday’s qualifying at the Monza circuit was delayed by two hours and 35 minutes after Romain Grosjean crashed with 13:31 remaining on the clock in Q1.
Finally underway again, Hulkenberg ade it into Q2 but that was where his qualifying ended.
He clocked the 12th fastest time but will start Sunday’s Italian GP from 15th on the grid in light of his engine penalty.
“It was tricky and in particular with the intermediate tyres as it felt like driving on soap as we just couldn’t develop any sort of grip and balance,” he said.
“We had one set of wets that felt much better and we were on good pace until the start of Q2, but at the end we couldn’t get pace on the intermediate tyres when we needed it.
“We’ll do the best we can tomorrow [Sunday]; hopefully we can grab some points.”