Hülkenberg discusses positive feeling after “challenging” Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Hülkenberg left Saudi Arabia with a positive feeling, encouraged by Haas’ competitiveness despite finishing the Grand Prix just shy of the points-paying positions in P12. The German driver claims Albert Park next time out looks okay for the team.

Nico Hülkenberg on track in Jeddah 2023
Photo: formula1.com

Following just his second Grand Prix of his full time Formula 1 return with Haas, Nico Hülkenberg looked positively on his performance in Jeddah. Having qualified in P11 and starting from P10, Hülkenberg would go on to finish just outside of the points in P12. He explained however, that Haas have shown they are a competitive midfield runner in the opening races of the season.

“Race circumstances didn’t quite go our way…”

Hülkenberg admits he was disappointed having missed out on a point due to “race circumstances” but was overall happy to have finished the race and gained experience going forward into the season ahead.

“I’ve just done a Grand Prix. One of the toughest of the season as my second race in my comeback,” he said. “It was tough, it was challenging. Twelfth, close to the points but not quite. I think a few race circumstances didn’t quite go our way today. On top of that I didn’t have the best first lap. That makes things already tough.

“Overall I’m quite pleased about the race and I think the most good news is that our pace is actually competitive amongst the midfield.”

Both Haas drivers side by side on track in Jeddah 2023
Photo: haasf1team.com

“It’s a massive challenge here…”

He went on to break down the issues which cost him a points paying position come the end of the race.

“Eventful,” Hülkenberg said when asked to describe the race. “It’s a massive challenge here, this track. I think all in all it was tight, it was close. On one side there’s a point that I missed out on but on the other hand I’m very pleased that I completed the race.

“We learned a lot. The race circumstances, the safety car and pitting late. I think we lost out a little bit there.”

Speaking of the upcoming third round in Melbourne, Hülkenberg likened the circuit characteristics of the Albert Park Circuit to that of Jeddah as both feature plenty of high speed sections. He seemed confident going forward, emboldened by the pace of the Haas’ in the opening two rounds despite two difficult races interrupted by damage and external factors.

“It’s different but it’s similar,” he said, comparing Albert Park to Jeddah. “It’s also pretty high speed since they’ve changed the circuit so, I think similar characteristic to [Jeddah].

“I think after today I head there with a positive feeling. Obviously another Grand Prix in my bag which I’ll process and digest and learn from and be a better driver again in Melbourne hopefully.”

Reiterating his point on the similarities between Jeddah and the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Hülkenberg went on to say that on paper it looks ok for the team. Quietly confident from the German driver.