Exclusive Nico Hulkenberg interview

IMG_0044Stephen English: How do you feel after qualifying today Nico?
NicoHulkenberg: Mixed emotions. On the one end it was a crazy qualifying session with the conditions but we have a good starting position just outside the points with a free choice of tyres. On the other hand it was a missed opportunity as there was more in there. As a team we didn’t  quite make the right call as to when make the change to slicks. We only got one lap whereas everyone else got two laps so we missed the entry for Q3. The lap was good but it was six tenths short of Q3 and I’m sure another lap would have been quicker. In these damp conditions one lap more is quite an advantage. The track was pretty challenging and tricky, especially in Q1 with the inters.
SE: Are points the target for tomorrow?
NH: Points are what we are going to try. We aren’t far away from them and we will try and make a good start and survive the first corner with no damage. That’s the first priority. If you damage the front wing and have to pit straight away you’re race is over. Overtaking is difficult and you can’t really gain an advantage anywhere else. The race is 78 laps and there are plenty of opportunities to make a mistake and finish your race. It is one of the races with the hightest level of concentration for everybody.
SE: Does the concentration factor make Monaco more exciting for a driver?
NH: I think that it is thrilling enough to go through such narrows walls and to be on the limit. It’s quite easy to make a mistake and misjudge it one time and don’t hit a bump the wrong  way and that will send you off the wrong way.
A lot of drivers have talked about the bump into turn one, how bad are the bumps on track?
There is a bump at turn one but it is not so bad for me. There is on between turn four and turn five that for me is worse from Casino down.
SE: How are you adapting to Sauber?
NH: It is going well, it’s a different team and a different culture.
How different is it to be here rather than at a British team?
It’s alright. It’s different to be sure, not in a negative or positive way, and you work with it and try to do the best job that you can with the team.
SE: What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
NH: Given how we started and not starting the season as strong as we would like we are finding ourselves in a situation that we don’t like. We are not competitive enough.
SE: What areas are you struggling with?
NH: As always it’s the aerodynamic side and maybe some of the interaction with the Pirelli tyres. There is something there that can make the car tricky to drive sometimes and for now the target is to fix that step by step and get more competitive and in the long term will get us better results.
SE: Is it frustrating to see Force India stronger than you this year?
NH: It’s good for them and they have put a decent race car together. I’m not with them anymore and a long time back when I made the decision things were different. You never have guarantees in life, and for sure not in Formula 1, but in life that is how things go.
SE: How will the 2014 regulations change the competitive order?
NH: Next year we enter a completely new era with a new page and a new book. Any team could get a lucky punch like Brawn in 2009. It’s completely open.
SE: About the tyres how do you find them in qualifying and the race?
NH: In qualifying they are fine, the one lap performance is fine. In the race they are challenging. They require management and as a racing driver sometimes it is more than we would like but it is what it is. It makes racing very interesting for fans and for us drivers it allows overtaking. It creates some circulation in the races and they are not as boring as they used to be. We have to adapt to the tyres and it’s not in my hands to change it so it is not worth me stressing about it too much.
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