Abu Dhabi

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3 Valtteri Bottas

Hulkenberg expects more changes

Tuesday 25th March 2014

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Hulkenberg expects more changes

Hulkenberg expects more changes

Nico Hulkenberg is of the opinion that the 2014 season will continue to be unpredictable while all the teams get used to the idiosyncrasies of the new regulations in the sport.

In the first race of the V6 turbo era, Hulkenberg finished in sixth place in his Force India car, but not before reigning World Constructors' Champions Red Bull and title favourites Mercedes ran into trouble in Australia.

After Daniel Ricciardo's dismissal the German's team-mate Sergio Perez was promoted to 10th, meaning Force India head to Malaysia in fifth place on the Constructors' standings, a position Hulkenberg is confident they can maintain or even improve upon.

"This year, we'll see bigger jumps and changes in the pecking order during the season," he told crash.net.

"There are still some teams that need to sort out their issues and they will probably become stronger. All teams, including us, will have room for improvement and development is going to be very fast."

Hulkenberg admitted that the strong drives of both Force India drivers - Perez would in all likelihood have finished in a better position had he not been involved in a first lap accident - is a welcome confidence boost ahead of the season's second race this weekend.

"I tried to be open-minded going into the race and, in reality, it was all quite straight forward. It almost felt like a normal race from last year, with no major surprises.

"We had issues with front left graining in the race, which we didn't have all weekend. I think it was due to the cooler temperatures and it cost quite a bit of performance in the first two stints on the soft tyre. On the medium it was pretty good.

"It's a bit slower because of the regulations and you feel the loss of downforce compared with 2013. Overtaking also seemed to be quite difficult, unless you are following a car that is really struggling. For example, you could see that Fernando [Alonso] couldn't really make a move on me.

"There were no concerns for us with the fuel management, which was helped by the extra parade lap and the early safety car, and we ran reliably during all the sessions, which is a big positive to take forward.

"Malaysia is going to be a tough challenge with totally different track characteristics and higher temperatures, which always leads to higher tyre degradation.

"It should be a good test of the new cars because it's much more open than Melbourne, with a nice variation of high and low-speed corners, plus two long straights."

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