Nico Hülkenberg's double victory in front of grandstands packed full of his home fans at the Nurburgring elevated the German into definite contention for this year's GP2 Series title, but he admits that there can be no easing off now he has the lead.
After securing a brilliant pole position on Friday, and despite cold temperatures and the threat of rain, the reigning F3 Euroseries champion went on to bring home win number one on Saturday afternoon in dominant fashion, his first ever victory in the main GP2 Series celebrated with a 14-second margin and the fastest lap.
Sunday's race saw the German start from eighth place thanks to his win on Saturday but, despite the wet and chaotic conditions, he went on to deliver a crushing victory, ahead by 26-and-a-half seconds at the line, and securing the fastest lap bonus along the way to make it a perfect weekend all round. As a result of his double success, and misfortune for Barwa Addax pair Romain Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov, Hulkenberg now leads the drivers' classification at the halfway point of the 2009 campaign.
“I could not ask for more from my home race weekend!" the youngster enthused, "Pole position, two wins, two fastest laps and now I'm leading the championship. Together with ART Grand Prix, we are doing a great job - they're giving me a fantastic car, we're working hand-in-hand and we're making progress.
"I was a bit surprised to open up such a gap in the first race and everything seemed a bit too easy, but I stayed focused for the second race because I knew, with such a good package, we could get a decent result. I did not make a very good start, but I recovered as soon as at the first turn and then I was able to push when and where I wanted, and overtook several drivers up to the point to make the junction with Petrov.
"I was saving my tyres at the same time and, even without his drive-thru' [for contact at the start with Lucas di Grassi], I think I would have been in a better shape than him.
"We're the leader now, but we have to keep the same attitude, work hard, stay 100 per cent focused and make sure we keep this position for the five next rounds.”
With Hülkenberg now leading the way in the drivers' championship, ART Grand Prix also halved the gap to leaders Barwa Addax with the aim of getting even closer in Hungary in two weeks' time.
“Nico had the perfect weekend, with 20 points out of 20 for, I think, only the second time in the GP2 history," team boss Frederic Vasseur commented, "His driving and attitude were perfect from the first to the last minute, and his progression in a series where he is a rookie is really excellent.”