Hulkenberg hoping for ‘first racing lap’ in Melbourne

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Bahrain, 2014Nico Hulkenberg is hoping he finally gets to complete a racing lap in the Australian Grand Prix following his misfortune in previous races at the track.

“It’s been three races in Melbourne and I’ve still not completed a racing lap,” said Hulkenberg, who had returned to Force India this year.

“They say bad luck comes in groups of three so hopefully attempt number four will work out better.”

Hulkenberg was taken out of the race by Kamui Kobayashi before the first lap was over in his first appearance at the event in 2010.

Another first-lap incident ended his second Australian Grand Prix start in 2012, and last year a fuel system fault prevented him from even starting the race for Sauber.

Hulkenberg says Force India are “pretty well prepared” for the first race of the season.

“The car has come a long way since Jerez,” he said. “We made steps at each test and I think we made very good use of the time we had available. We signed off a lot of things during testing and I don’t think we’re in bad shape.”

“In the final week in Bahrain we averaged 100 laps per day and made good progress,” Hulkenberg added. “You would always like more time to test, but we’ve done as much as we could.”

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15 comments on Hulkenberg hoping for ‘first racing lap’ in Melbourne

  1. Sam (@) said on 7th March 2014, 10:14

    I’m really hoping he can shine and step up to the podium few times. Although I fear the other Mercedes powered cars just have the edge over Force India at the moment.

    • ChimpSafari said on 7th March 2014, 10:41

      Had to comment to say I love your profile pic. More a Mercedes fan myself but I’d still be pretty happy if Williams ended up taking the driver’s/constructors championship this year.

  2. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 7th March 2014, 10:27

    I didn’t realise how unlucky he’d been at Melbourne.

    The other Nico hasn’t had much luck there either in recent years, despite it being quite a strong circuit for him: 2011 – Retired, 2012 – 12th (he had a problem on the last lap), 2013 – Retired.

  3. Shimks (@shimks) said on 7th March 2014, 11:12

    The Hulk is destined for epicness. It will happen sooner or later; fear not.

  4. Meander (@meander) said on 7th March 2014, 14:17

    I was so bummed when Hulk went to FI instead of Lotus…. not so much anymore now!

  5. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 7th March 2014, 15:44

    Once Alonso has managed to offend every team on the grid, when Raikkonen gets his new ice cream venture up and running and when Hamilton realizes that his “true purpose” in life is as a rap vocalist, it will most likely be Sebastian Vettel versus Nico Hulkenberg in F1, potentially with cameo appearances from Bottas, Magnussen, Grosjean and Frijns. And with that in mind, it is paramount for F1 that Hulkenberg gets a top drive in 2015.

    He has been ignored a total of four times by top teams (Red Bull 2013 – Ferrari 2013 – McLaren 2012 and 2013), and I simply fail to be able to characterize two of those occasions as anything other than knee jerk mistakes, with Ferrari ignoring the comparably cheaper, younger and equally fast Hulk by choosing Raikkonen thus laying the foundations for internal WW3, and with McLaren defining “knee jerk” by taking the inferior Perez over Nico in 2012, and furthermore not choosing to right their wrong twelve months later and instead parachuting in the fresh talent of Magnussen almost as if Hulkenberg’s sell-by-date had already expired. It’s maddening, and probably what frustrates me most about modern F1..and yes, that does mean even more that DRS and double points.

    It frustrates me because I know that a multiple junior category rookie champion and prolific midfield star would quite happily find themselves in a top team twenty years ago, but now we have tragic tales like that of Frijns, who should have been about to start his second season in F1 and is instead staring at the back wall of a Caterham garage. I’m not one for rosey-eyed reminiscing, despite my age, I welcome F1’s new formula with open arms, but with regards to the cases of Robin Frijns and Nico Hulkenberg things certainly were better twenty years ago…

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 7th March 2014, 16:34

      Where is Frijns gonna drive? Haas F1 in 2016?

    • Sam (@) said on 7th March 2014, 17:54

      @william-brierty Ferrari choosing Kimi might have something to do with experience and is in the end understandable as Kimi is a top notch driver. How McLaren ever chose Perez instead of Nico however is something that goes beyond me.

      All I can think is they never expected Hamilton to leave and rolled some dices and the total would be the number of the driver to replace them. Hell, even Bianchi had more prospect.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 8th March 2014, 12:31

        @ardenflo – Does Alonso not represent experience? A Hulkenberg-Alonso line-up would not only be easily the best on the grid, but it would certainly be more compliant and scarcely inferior to the 2014 Alonso-Raikkonen line-up. But, as you say, it is more justifiable than McLaren’s knee-jerk in 2012, which they confirmed was an error on their behalf by completely ignoring Nico in 2013, with “mistake acknowledgement” a notable absence from Ron’s vocabulary. In 2012, had the choice of Nico, Perez, Bianchi, Bottas, Di Resta and even Rosberg (who had an open ended contract due the performance clause not being filled), and essentially managed to choose the worst prospect…

        • Sam (@) said on 8th March 2014, 12:40

          @william-brierty I think Ferrari wants to win the 2014 WCC title and what better pairing can you then use than ALO and RAI. A former double champion proven to be one of, if not the, best on a sunday together with the last Ferrari Champion who is no slouch either.

          I think Ferrari chose for the short-term succes with this line-up. They will maintain it in 2015 (if all goes well) and recruit a talent or younger champion into their team for 2016 on. I’m thinking about Vettel, Hülkenberg, Bianchi, Marciello,…

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 8th March 2014, 16:43

            @ardenflo – Here’s my theory as to what will happen…

            2014-5 – If Ferrari fail to win the WCC they will not renew Kimi’s contract, and he will retire. He is replaced with Hulkenberg.

            2016 – McLaren show well with Honda in 2015/6 and Alonso moves to McLaren and is replaced by Vettel OR Alonso renews his contract

            By 2018 Ferrari will have a Vettel-Hulkenberg line-up, of that I’m sure, and because of that talent monopolism, will most probably be dominating F1.

          • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 8th March 2014, 22:43

            @william-brierty the “talent monopolism” you mention is only true if no other talent gets in. That may happen, it’s difficult, but maybe Magnussen is “the” talent and the next contender of the future.
            It’s incredible and “scary” to think that by the start of the 2018 season, as you say, Vettel will only be 30. So even if he falls in a “drought of WDCs” until that time, he has plenty of time (30, 31, 32, 33…39?) to get 8th WDC in total. I’ve heard many times that 33 is the peak of a driver, I don’t know who said it but it’s been mentioned here around many times! Some got the WDCs beyond that age, How old was Schumi when he got his last one? 35. Prost? 38. and Mansell? 39.

        • anon said on 8th March 2014, 16:42

          @william-brierty, Ferrari have always been relatively conservative when choosing drivers and therefore tend to place a higher value on experience than most teams.
          Ferrari will know exactly what sort of technical feedback and performance they can expect from Kimi, having worked with him before, whereas Hulkenberg would be more of an unknown quantity. Hulkenberg, let us not forget, is as experienced as Perez (Nico has 57 starts to 56 for Perez), so in that respect he has no advantage over Perez.

          As for being compliant, well, in 2008 Kimi was prepared to sacrifice his positions in the latter part of the season to keep Massa’s title hopes alive – he may not like doing it, but if he was in a scenario where he was realistically out of the title hunt, he has shown that he is prepared to place the interests of the team above his own.

          As for why Hulkenberg didn’t get a seat at McLaren in 2012, well, his performances at the time the decision was made did not stand out – it was only really in the latter stages of the season where he performed, by which time McLaren were already preparing for their 2013 season and had picked Perez as their candidate (and recall how many were saying that Ferrari had made a mistake by not picking Perez to replace Massa at the time).

          As for 2013, the issue there was that, for the bulk of the season, Sauber’s car was too poor to allow Hulkenberg to really put in any decent performances until the latter part of the season – all we really saw of him was occasional glimpses of his car being lapped, and all we heard from him were exasperated (and expletive riddled) radio messages that made him sound like a difficult driver to work with.
          [Note, that is not to say that he is actually a difficult driver to work with - he reportedly is no more difficult to work with than any other typical driver - just that the radio messages cast him in a worse light than is perhaps merited.]

          That, I feel, is one problem with Hulkenberg – his best performances always come at the ends of seasons, usually once teams have already chosen their drivers for the following year, and are therefore not enough to influence other teams to sign him.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 8th March 2014, 22:48

      Once Alonso has managed to offend every team on the grid

      @william-brierty hahaha and you’re showing the 14 eh?

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