Things “work better and more efficiently” — Hülkenberg full of praise for Haas technical department following run to P6 in updated VF-24 at F1 British GP

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Haas have been on fine form. In Austria the team scored a double-points finish with Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, finishing P6 and P8 respectively.

The American-owned outfit introduced updates to maintain their recent scoring streak. It paid off greatly with Hülkenberg bagging home another sixth-place finish for the second consecutive race weekend.

Although he lost three spots on the opening lap following a strong qualifying performance to beat the works Ferraris, the 36-year-old passed Stroll on lap 19 to take back the lead in the best of the rest fight, and took advantage of unreliability for Russell and a bad strategy call for Leclerc to end up back where he started.

Speaking after Sunday’s British GP, Hülkenberg was very pleased with the result, feeling “good” and “happy”.

“It is obviously a nice, rewarding feeling to get eight points again, P6 two times in a row.”

The German admits that finishing so high in sixth was not expected but gave the team full credit for their strategy and having no errors in the race.

“It’s unexpected, but I think deserved. We worked for it. We stayed clean, no mistakes, good strategy. Very good.”

Haas is currently seventh in the Constructors’ Championship with 27 points, moving to within 4 of RB after a terrific couple of weekends. The Faenza-based team has dropped back in recent rounds.

Such was their strong performance, the German driver believes they can fight the likes of Alpine and Aston Martin consistently.

“I think that the best of all, though, is the performance that we’ve had. The update really did something to the car, and I genuinely think we’re in the fight for fifth-fastest team now with sometimes Aston, sometimes Alpine, and sometimes some others maybe.

“I think we’re there. We have been pretty consistent this season and I think we can hang on to that.”

Getting the calls right to switch to inters and then back to dries at the same time was absolutely key. Haas nailed it on both occasions.

Hülkenberg concerned how hairy it was behind the cockpit in such tricky conditions, especially on dry tyres when it got damp.

“Super difficult [to get it right].

“I have to admit, pretty uncomfortable turning into the Copse at 300kph with rain on your visor and not knowing ‘am I going to be in the wall or am I going to make the corner’.

“You just don’t know with slicks and this grip level, it is really lethal and then very challenging, and that is why focus-wise and mentally this race was pretty tough and demanding.

“But we got the timing very well at both stops, hence also the reward and the result.”

Haas’ dramatic turnaround has been impressive, considering that their new team principal Ayao Komatsu envisioned that his squad would be somewhere behind the pack at the start of the season.

Hülkenberg himself is also taken by surprise about the team’s recent results. Expectations were low heading into the season, with the team expecting to be backmarkers.

“I mean, nobody expected it — even when we started it was better than the expectation. But we kept up with everyone, and did the same job, maybe even better.”

While their VF-24 cars are track-dependant and weekend-dependant at times, the German remained thrilled with the team’s progress.

“I think it’s also a little bit weekend-dependent and track-dependent, so we’ll have to wait and see but no, it’s definitely a hell of a comeback and a story.”

Unlike Ferrari, RB and Aston Martin, the updates Haas has been bringing to the track is giving them performance.

Hülkenberg says the changes made by new team principal Ayao Komatsu over the winter has helped.

“They’ve just done a good job, and I think they’ve worked well, they’ve worked clean.

“Every time when we put stuff on the car, it kind of works to expectations, and the correlation was also not bad.

“Obviously we’ve made some changes to our technical department and our aero department at the end of last year, and I think the result is this now, that it kind of works better and more efficiently.’

Pushed on where the updates have improved the VF-24, Hülkenberg explained it’s helped in the high and medium speed corners.

“I think it’s improved our high speed and medium speed performance.

“High speed was kind of an issue all this year so far, to the tracks that we’ve been to, and this weekend it seemed that, we kind of closed that gap to some extent, especially to the other midfield teams and also to the top teams to some extent.”