F1 2010 rookie Nico Hulkenberg is confident he will be able to hit the ground running this weekend in Spain as he gears up for the first European race of the season.

Hulkenberg has already managed to score his first point, when he was tenth at the Malaysian Grand Prix in his Williams FW32 at the start of last month, and he is hoping his previous experience of the Circuit de Catalunya will pay dividends this Sunday.

"I've enjoyed the first few races so I'm looking forward to Spain and working together with the team again," he said. "I've covered a lot of kilometres testing in Barcelona over the past couple of years, and I've raced there in GP2, so I'm confident I know the track well enough to hit the ground running.

"It's a good circuit to drive and gives everyone a clear indication of how strong your aerodynamics are. The track flows nicely and has some testing corners. The first sector is especially quick. Turn three is a fast right hander, turn nine too, and both are a lot of fun to drive.

"Like everyone else, we will have new parts for Barcelona so there's some expectation to do better there than in China. I've been to the track so many times but I've never really seen the city itself. Now that I'm actually racing in F1, I doubt that's going to change!"

Team-mate and F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello meanwhile has predicted that qualifying will be especially important: "Most of the drivers know Barcelona inside out. It's a great track, particularly for qualifying and that can really be the determining factor of the weekend," he confirmed.

"The circuit has a combination of high and low speed sectors but the priority is to achieve good speed going into the corners, rather than focusing on the long straight, so you have to have a strong aerodynamic set-up.

"Turn three is challenging and you are looking to go flat out there for qualifying. The four-through seven corner sequence is where you can make up the most time on the lap so getting that hooked up is important too. Overtaking is kind of limited because everyone has so much experience of the track.

"The biggest variable is normally the weather. I've raced at Catalunya plenty of times; it's a circuit I like a lot and I think someone with experience will do better there."


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