‘Nico Hulkenberg was rejected by top teams because he’s just so big’

Nico Hulkenberg impressed in F1 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Three. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail:
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain,…

Nico Hulkenberg has been the unsung hero of Thursday and Friday at the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, prompting Damon Hill to share an intriguing back-story about him.

Hulkenberg qualified in 10th, an unexpectedly good result for the Haas team which finished bottom of last year’s constructors’ championship.

Their veteran German driver might be driving for a bigger team if his physical attributes were different, Hill has explained.

“In the past I’ve heard his name mentioned in some of the top teams,” Hill said on Sky Sports.

“He was rejected, basically, on the grounds that he’s just so big.

“He is carrying a disadvantage because he is a big lad.

“It’s weight from the waist up. You don’t want that in a racing car.

“For him to do what he does, shows that he has a lot of talent.”

Haas have experienced a winter of upheaval after the shock exit of Guenther Steiner as team principal.

Steiner, in the Bahrain paddock, insisted he was happy to watch his former team overachieve.

“Absolutely, I am very happy for the guys, and for Nico,” he said.

“He is one of the best qualifiers, if not the best.

He just performs at that level.

“It’s good for the guys at Haas. They work hard and they deserve it.”

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas VF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Qualifying
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas VF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1,…

Hulkenberg reflected on qualifying in 10th, just one place behind Lewis Hamilton: “Last year, qualy and one-lap pace was our strong point.

“In testing we hadn’t done low-fuel performance runs. Yesterday was the first time.

“I could sense and feel that there was potential.

“We want to get rid of the bad Sunday trend from last year.

“It feels better from inside the car. Tomorrow is the first real test in anger.

“We have fixed the car, the aerodynamics characteristic from last year which was really poor, especially on long runs.

“There is a lot of learning going on, for tyre management, in the background.”

Naomi Schiff said about Haas: “That was a really positive performance.

“Kevin Magnussen didn’t have the same pace that Nico did.

“Nico has proven himself to be incredibly good in qualifying.

“He’s put them in such a strong position by just getting them into Q3.

“Keeping one set of tyres for [Saturday] gives them a good set of options against their competition.

“His competition is not the likes of Hamilton, Sainz, Perez. It’s the other guys.”

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