Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were in P6 and P10 respectively in the closing stages of Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix - but different engine issues forced the pair to retire.
Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul claimed the problems as "unacceptable" with the French works team now down in seventh-place in this season's constructors' standings.
But Hulkenberg believes it is important that his team do not blame the engine department.
"It is a hard one to swallow," Hulkenberg explained to Autosport. "Not just on me but everyone. This is when you realise that F1 is about a team sport. The engine guys in Viry and everyone will be very devastated, and down.
"There is no point in hammering on them. We need to work as a unit and help each other."
Hulkenberg was then asked if it is easier to sort a good car that was unreliable, or a slower one that finishes races, and the German replied: "I don't know which one is easier to fix honestly.
"Obviously we have a history with those problems, so we want to get on top of them and we need to do it quickly. But I don't have the answer for that one."