H???lkenberg’s drive “his best to date”

Williams technical director Sam Michael said Nico H???lkenberg’s drive to seventh in the Italian Grand Prix was his best showing so far in Formula 1:

Nico finished sixth in Budapest, but he was consistently strong throughout the whole weekend in Monza. I would say then that, yes, his overall performance was his best to date.
Sam Michael

He denied H???lkenberg should have been given a penalty for cutting the chicane while running in front of Mark Webber:

Nico didn’t gain any advantage on the occasions when he went through the chicanes. Buemi did exactly the same while running ahead of Rubens but, because he didn’t gain an advantage, he wasn’t penalised either.
Sam Michael

However he pointed out that H???lkenberg had the advantage of running a new engine at Monza, something team mate Rubens Barrichello did not have:

Nico had a new engine, but Rubens had the same one as he used in Spa. It is obviously a significant benefit to have a new engine, and particularly when we?re racing at these power-hungry circuits.

Rubens? car was handling similarly to Nico’s. Although he didn?t have the same pace as Nico over the weekend, he still scored an important point for the team.
Sam Michael

He added the team is readying an upgrade package for its FW32 for the next race:

We have a large upgrade for the FW32 for Singapore. It will be the last upgrade package we will bring to the car this season and we expect it to be competitive.
Sam Michael

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30 comments on H???lkenberg’s drive “his best to date”

  1. You could argue that an advantage was gained in the sense that had he attempted to take the chicanes properly, given that he’d made mistakes on the entry to the corner which caused him to cut them in the first place, Webber would have been all over him on the run down to Roggia / Lesmos. Same with Buemi / Barrichello.

    Incidentally, did anyone see the chicane-cutting that lead to Alguersuari’s penalty? That’s now two from him that would appear to have been missed by the broadcast.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th September 2010, 16:31

      Alguersuari’s was on the first lap, just keep an eye on the back of the field in the footage of the start.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 14th September 2010, 17:03

      Agreed.
      If Hulk’s brakes were so bad that he couldn’t brake late enough to keep Webber behind without cutting the chicanes then that is an advantage in my eyes.

      Braking earlier would have given Webber the chance to get alongside so he chose to brake late and cut the chicane instead. Thus gaining an advantage.

  2. KateDerby said on 14th September 2010, 16:29

    Not sure how two wrongs make a right.
    And just how many times did Buemi cut the chicanes… was it at least 3 like Hulkenberg did? (Again, there was no/little coverage of that part of the race).

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th September 2010, 16:32

      There’s no rule about how many times it may happen (at least, not on this occasion – such a rule has been used in the past), the question is whether the driver gained an advantage.

      • Dr. Mouse said on 14th September 2010, 16:41

        I thought there was a rule about cutting corners, not necessarily a hard-and-fast rule, but something like if you consistently cut corners you will be penalised, advantage or not.

        It was mentioned a few years ago on the BBC commentary I think, so it may not be in force anymore… I also may have dreamed it :)

        • mateuss said on 14th September 2010, 17:01

          I think last year there was a statement from the stewards that if you cut the chicanes three times you get a drive-trough, worked then, I don remember anyone cutting them more then twice, so why didn’t they do the same this year?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th September 2010, 17:08

            It might have been because they changed the run-off at the chicanes to penalise people more for going off the track. Also they installed new electronic loops in the track to make it easier to detect when a car had gone off.

          • mateuss said on 14th September 2010, 17:28

            Well i see what they did at the first chicane, but at the end of Friday drivers had already figured the best route to cut the chicane, and at the second one they have made things even easier.
            And what the detectors are for if they used them quite loosely, probably detect a cut at one of the chicanes, then looked at the sector time say “No, no advantage”, but we know things aren’t so straight forward.
            I think if they were more principal and released the same statement – “three hits and you’re out” so to speak, then there wouldn’t be any doubts weather a driver gained or didn’t gain an advantage and we even wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  3. lotusien said on 14th September 2010, 16:39

    It seems also that Hulkenberg lap times were not better when cutting the chicanes than his “normal” laps.

  4. mateuss said on 14th September 2010, 16:54

    If I were in Webber’s place I would have fallowed Hulk, as soon as I realized he would go across, well at least if not on the first occasion then on the second or third, especially when he took the tarmac run-off. But of course it is easy to say that sitting on an armchair :D .

  5. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 14th September 2010, 17:21

    He drove a good race. It’s hard to compare him with anyone else though as he seemed to be racing a completely different circuit.

    • US_Peter said on 15th September 2010, 0:00

      It’s hard to compare him with anyone else though as he seemed to be racing a completely different circuit.

      :-)

  6. claudioff said on 14th September 2010, 18:59

    Funny how always the “not yet signed contract” works wonders in the driver´s performance.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th September 2010, 23:51

    That was his best drive? He was all over the place! Hungary was a better example.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th September 2010, 9:30

      He’s not just talking about the race though:

      he was consistently strong throughout the whole weekend in Monza

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th September 2010, 10:20

        The race is where it counts. You can have the best run of practice and qualifying sessions in the history of ever, but if you botch it in the race, it won’t mean a thing.

        • mateuss said on 15th September 2010, 14:56

          It works both ways, If you botch it on Friday and Saturday, you wont have anything to race with. So it is the overall performance that matters and it is reflected in the race result, you can ace the setup and gain performance on two opponents, make a small mistake in the race loose on of those places, or set up a boat loose performance advantage on ten rivals and have a great race gain back only two places. So the performance averages out trough the whole weekend.

  8. I agree too with Prisoner Monkeys that Hungary was better drive. There he hadn’t any controversies in his drive like this, and also it was one position better.

    On a counter-point, he has had some terrible performances, like in China (finished behind Kovalainen) and crashing on the first lap at Monaco.

  9. patrickl said on 15th September 2010, 12:19

    It’s too bad Hulkenberg had technical difficulties in Spa. Would have been nice to see how he had performed there.

    I think it’s starting to show that Hulkenberg is getting into the groove of things.

    The last 6 races (since the Valencia update) he’s been pretty well matched with Barrichello. Hulkenberg scoring 15 points and Barrichello 24. They have been even (3-3) on qualifying and race results.

    Especially the last 3 races Hulkenberg outperformed Barrichello by quite a margin. 2-1 in qualifying, 3-0 in race results and het scored 14 points vs 2 for Barrichello.

  10. Sutil.M said on 16th September 2010, 21:11

    I think Hulkenberg may have cut the chicanes but did he gain an advantage,im not quite sure.

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