Hülkenberg on a “positive” return to F1 this year: “Happy with how I perform and drive so far”

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Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

Joining Haas F1 Team for the 2023 season, after spending a couple of seasons out on the sidelines in reserve driver roles, Nico Hülkenberg is pleased at what he has achieved personally to date.

Hülkenberg currently sits in P14 in the championship with 9 points to his tally, 7 more than teammate Kevin Magnussen. While the total points is due to disappoint the German, it’s his performances to get the most out of the car in qualifying that have to be praised.

Saturdays have been a real highlight for Hülkenberg this year and has often flattered his VF-23, making six Q3 appearances and a front row start (before a grid penalty) in the rain soaked Canadian Qualifying session.

Hülkenberg echoed this positive tone but laments the cars lack of race pace this year.

“As a whole I look back [on it] positively, I think we have not really missed any big opportunities. Whenever there was a result available we’ve managed to extract it — to get the points that were available.

“Obviously we feel like we don’t have enough points, we are not happy with how competitive we are on Sundays, so that’s definitely the biggest issue and the biggest disappointment. But as a whole personally I feel very happy to be back, happy with how I perform and drive so far and feel in a good place,” said Hülkenberg.

Speaking about the Haas team culture, 35-year-old Hülkenberg spoke how it is “different in size but similar in structure” to other teams he has driven for.

“It’s a bit different, it’s a smaller private team. But apart from that, how the team is structured with engineering and this and that, it’s similar.”

Hülkenberg’s simple goal for the second half of the season is “to score more points that in the first half.”

Speaking on how he is going to do this the German said he’s going to“keep driving hard and keep doing what I can.”

Finally, Hülkenberg acknowledges that his car needs improvement, and is hoping for a leap in performance in the second half of the season.

“We need to improve the car, definitely. The characteristics, more downforce, better tyre temperature control. There are a lot of things we can do better and that we are working on here but also in the background at the factory. Time will tell — we have to prove it.”