23 July 2013
Hungarian Grand Prix: Qualifying will be key, says Hulkenberg
Happy memories of previous Hungaroring outings buoy up Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez heading into the final race before F1's summer break.
Sauber F1 drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez are both working hard at being positive heading into the next round of the 2013 F1 world championship this weekend, despite the news and rumours swirling around the Swiss team's future.
“Budapest is a city with a great atmosphere and a lot of beautiful old buildings," said Hülkenberg. "The Danube runs right through the city and I like being there."
The 25-year-old German has good reason to be optimistic about his chances at the Hungaroring this weekend. "The first time I went to the Hungaroring was in 2009. I won the GP2 race on the Saturday and I have always had good races there in the past," he said. "In 2010, during my first F1 season, I had my best result up to then with sixth place just before the summer break."
Hülkenberg described the track as technically challenging with little room for mistakes. "The second sector has several combinations that all flow on from each other. If you get off the racing line there, the whole sector is ruined," he said. "You have to be spot on. Overtaking is difficult too, even with the DRS. There is one straight, but it's not that long, which is why qualifying is particularly important."
His young team mate Gutiérrez also said he had positive memories of this weekend's venue.
"I think Hungary can be a good weekend," he said. "It was the first European track I ever drove on during a test in Formula BMW," he pointed out.
"The track has several medium speed corners and stability is particularly important there. It's also very demanding on the tyres, especially in the long corners, and also because temperatures can be quite high, which you have to take into account, especially for the tyre management.
"The track is very technical and it will be difficult to overtake," he added. "My favourite parts are turns one to five, and especially turn four, a fast lefthander, which is blind when you turn into it, so taking the kerb there is very exciting."
The team's head of track engineering Tom McCullough likened the track to Monaco in terms of the amount of downforce needed to successfully navigate the twisty 2.722-mile, 16-turn circuit and said that it was a real challenge for the technical staff to get the car set up for.
"It is one of the most technical circuits on the calendar," he admitted. "There are a lot of longer corners that all flow from each other ... The qualifying position is particularly important, as overtaking is still difficult even with the use of KERS and DRS."
McCullough added that the team was feeling "well prepared" for the event, the final F1 Grand Prix before the month-long August summer break, and that the Silverstone young drivers test had helped the team evaluate its new aero package and the new-specification Pirelli tyres being introduced in Hungary this weekend.
"Our aim is to again qualify stronger and convert this into points scoring finishes," he said.
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