Hulkenberg: Still a long way to go

Thursday 08-May-2014 16:19

Nico Hulkenberg says it is "a bit too early" in the season to declare himself and Force India the surprise of the Championship.

Returning to Force India after a year with Sauber, the German and his team have made a stellar start to this Championship.

Fourth in the Drivers' Championship on 36 points, Hulkenberg has yet to finish a grand prix outside the top six.

Such is his flying start to the season that he is ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen in the standings.

The 26-year-old, though, is refusing to get carried away.

"I think it's a bit too early to call it the surprise of the season," Hulkenberg told the official F1 website.

"Yes, we've had a good start, but we've completed only four races and there are 15 more to come - that's quite a task.

"How does it feel to be in front of three Champions? Somehow not too strange!

"We can explain why we are performing well, so it's a position that comes from our own merits. We have a good package, a strong engine partner, and we've made some good decisions and the right calls strategy-wise."

One of those Champions he is ahead of, Raikkonen, is currently sitting in the Ferrari race-seat that many expected Hulkenberg would secure for this season.

Asked whether he gained any satisfaction from beating Raikkonen, he said: "No, not really.

"If you look individually, Fernando (Alonso) has beaten me in three races and only once - in Bahrain - we were in front of him. So I think the Ferrari is a strong car and I expect them to have a good season - still."

Pressed as to whether he was surprised by Raikkonen's struggles, Hulkenberg answered: "Probably there's an element of him having to familiarise himself with the team again - and the new car - but I have no idea why he's struggling more than Fernando does.

"And no, there is no satisfaction connected to his struggling - just the satisfaction that we're doing so well."

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