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Hulk: Pole won't determine Williams future

Nico Hulkenberg has admitted that he does not expect his pole position at the Brazilian GP to dictate whether he stays at Williams next season.
Nico Hulkenberg insists that he will not allow the thrill of his first pole position deflect his attention from the task at hand on Sunday afternoon, even though his future with the Williams team remains unclear.

The German, who out-paced the four championship contenders making it through to the top ten shoot-out, is reportedly under threat from his successor as GP2 Series champion, Pastor Maldonado, as Williams attempts to decide its line-up for 2011. Despite both Patrick Head and team founder Sir Frank Williams singing his praises in recent weeks, Hulkenberg knows that his rival can bring a lot more in the way of sponsorship to the team - something that Head admits will be a crucial factor when several big name backers leave at the end of the season.

Hulkenberg - who, like Lewis Hamilton, won the GP2 title at the first attempt - admits that he has no intention of becoming a 'pay driver' and buying his ride in F1, and hopes that his maiden pole position, claimed in a damp and drying session at Interlagos, will help to raise his stock, either at Williams or one of its rivals.

"Obviously, the first pole position is emotional and, hopefully, an historic moment as I want to be in F1 for many, many years," the 23-year old admitted, "At the minute, I miss the words of what I want to say as I am still shaking from the lap and all the thrill.

"I think the situation at Williams is still very open. Nothing is confirmed, obviously, but I'll just try to keep focused on doing a good job each weekend. So far, I think it's working pretty well. If I do that, and I don't make any silly mistakes, it's all I can do and then it's up to the team to decide if they want to keep me or not. I'm in a positive mood that we will have a successful ending to that story, [but] I have to realise what we have just done and get on with the job tomorrow."

Switching to slicks at just the right moment, Hulkenberg had three flying laps to his main rivals' two, and made it count by posting two times that would have been good enough for pole. However, he knows that the Williams is not the best car in the field, and will have its work cut out to keep the assembled Red Bulls, Ferrari and McLarens at bay.

"The best thing is to do a good start and drive off from them, but I think, if it is dry, it is not going to happen," he conceded, "I'd like to have a proper wet race - full wet conditions. That's what I like and what would be good for us. But, either way, whatever it is, we'll go out there and race.

"I know these guys are fighting for the championships, so I don't want to cause any trouble, but I also have to look for my own performance. We are battling with Force India for P6 in the constructors' [championship], so I am sure I can manage it and I hope I can bring some good points back home tomorrow."

Neither Williams driver has been much of a force off the grid this season, often wasting their qualifying performances, but Hulkenberg is confident that he can make a decent fist of things from pole - even if he doesn't stay in front for long.

"To be honest, this week's starts have been very positive, all the ones we've done," the German said of his practice getaways on Friday and Saturday, "For different reasons, we've chosen some different gear ratios which allow us to have a better start. We may give away a bit of performance during the lap, but I think I can have a very good start and still be P1 in the first corner. Then we'll see from there."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pastor Maldonado celebrates victory at Silverstone   [pic credit: GP2]
Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 2nd position, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32 pole position and Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB6 3rd position
Qualifying, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32 pole position and Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams, FW32
Qualifying, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
Saturday Practice, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
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