16 June 2014
Hulkenberg out to maintain 100% record in Austria
After taking his fourth fifth-place finish of 2014 in Canada, Nico Hulkenberg is confident that Force India can be a threat for points in Austria.
Nico Hulkenberg will be looking to continue his unbroken run of points finishes in 2014 with another competitive showing as F1 makes its long-awaited return to Austria this weekend.
Despite being overshadowed by Force India team-mate Sergio Perez in the recent Canadian Grand Prix, Hulkenberg was once again the Force India driver to emerge with points, taking fifth place in the final reckoning after Perez tangled with Williams' Felipe Massa.
The ten points took Hulkenberg's 2014 tally to 57, keeping him in sixth spot overall, just three points behind four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, and some 37 ahead of the luckless Perez, who was eventually classified eleventh in Canada – just one spot out of the points – despite ending his race in the tyre wall adjoining the main straight. Hulkenberg's race was far from straightforward as, having decided to start on the soft-compound Pirelli and run deep into the 70 laps, he found himself dicing with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in the closing stages.
“We have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, and to come away with ten points after a very busy race was really positive,” Hulkenberg said of his afternoon on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, “I was on a different strategy from everyone else, which meant I was under pressure for most of the afternoon. I think we were on the fastest strategy for us, even if the early safety car didn't really help, but everything worked as planned and we came away with a very strong result.”
Moreover, Hulkenberg has now scored in each of the season's seven rounds, with his Montreal result equalling those already achieved in Malaysia, Bahrain and Monaco. A single point in Spain remains the German's lowest haul so far this year, and he is confident that he can continue to add to his total in Austria.
“We are in a very good position to keep scoring points, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start,” he claimed, “There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalise on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge. I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.”
In common with much of the grid, Hulkenberg has yet to sample the revamped Red Bull Ring, which has not featured on the F1 schedule for eleven years, but is optimistic that the VJM07 will be competitive.
“Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year,” he pointed out, “When you go to a new track it's even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference, but the track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada.”
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