The Enstone outfit have comfortably been the best of the rest this weekend, including finishing in P3 and P5 in the second practice session of the weekend.
However, once the ‘party modes’ were activated amongst the top teams, the order went back to normal, with Hulkenberg slotting into P7, just ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz.
“I think that is the best I can ask for, the best I can do,” Hulkenberg said.
“It is a good feeling and satisfying if you can get all you can out of the car and yourself and that is all you can do pretty much.
“We know that with those top six cars we cannot compete yet, hopefully next year, but as far as today goes, very happy.”
When asked if he could get in amongst the top six in Sunday’s race, he responded by saying he wishes that he could, but the “realistic picture is not”.
“I think in race pace the gap will be bigger and usually it is better for them,” the German added.
“It is not our cup of tea just yet.
“We have the fight on with Haas and everybody else so we just need to keep a clean nose and score as many points as possible.