Nico Hulkenberg felt he had not maximised the performance of his Racing Point after qualifying 13th for the British Grand Prix.
But it was understandable. The German arrived at Silverstone late on Thursday as the last-minute replacement for Sergio Perez, who was ruled out by a positive test for COVID-19.
Although he had been inside the top 10 in all of the three practice sessions, Hulk missed out on reaching Q3 by just 0.065sec – which was the gap to his temporary Racing Point colleague Lance Stroll, who went on to claim P6 on the grid for Sunday’s race.
“I feel there was more potential in the car and I didn’t get everything that was on the table,” said Hulkenberg on Sky Sports. “But in the circumstances it’s very hard, you can’t expect it to be 100%.
“It’s small margins and Q3 wasn’t far away. For me, there are so many new inputs that I have to learn, soak in and digest. Every situation I enter in with the car is new. It’s not easy but I’m enjoying it.
“These cars are beasts. There is so much downforce – I’ve never felt so much speed in the corners here. It’s pretty impressive but also tough.”
🏁 Qualifying recap
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) August 1, 2020
At least Hulkenberg will have a free tyre choice for the race, adding: “We played around with some different compounds. Some of the top-10 runners will be starting on the medium so it’s going to be interesting to see.”
Stroll, meanwhile, was disappointed not to have built on the promise of FP2, in which he topped the timesheets, but remained hopeful of pushing for a podium finish in the race.
“After being first yesterday I was hoping for a bit more, but I struggled with the balance of the car and couldn’t really get it hooked up in the first sector,” said the Canadian. “I think that cost us some lap time.
“But we’re still in a good position for tomorrow. I expect our race to be with the Ferraris, so we’ll see what happens at the start and go from there.”
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