How Nico Hulkenberg ‘broke the ice’ with old foe Kevin Magnussen

Jon Wilde
Nico Hulkenberg climbs out of the Haas. Abu Dhabi November 2022

Nico Hulkenberg climbs out of the Haas during the post-season Pirelli test. Abu Dhabi November 2022

Nico Hulkenberg has revisited the rivalry from 2017 with his new Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen that sparked the infamous “suck my b***s” comment.

Those three words, suffixed by either “mate” or “honey” in various reports, have become part of F1 folklore since they were uttered by Magnussen following a clash between the duo at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Dane, in the middle of an interview at the time in the media pen, gave the riposte when approached by Hulkenberg, who accused him of lacking sportsmanship in their on-track battle.

The pair have never been bosom buddies but nearly five years on from the exchange, ‘The Hulk’ decided to have a go at burying the hatchet at the start of the 2022 season when making a couple of guest appearances for Aston Martin in place of Covid-stricken Sebastian Vettel.

Eight months later, it was confirmed the former foes would be team-mates for 2023 at Haas.

“I expect to have a good relationship,” Hulkenberg told PlanetF1 and other select media about the dynamic between he and Magnussen.

“We’ve, I think, cleared that incident and we’ve broken the ice [at the] beginning of this year, actually.

“I said hello to him with his exact same words from ’17. He felt that was quite funny and amusing.

“I have absolutely no worries working and racing alongside him. I think we are both grown-up adults, we respect each other and we’ll race for the team, so no problems whatsoever.”

Reminded he and Magnussen are both now fathers of young children, the German replied: “Yeah, we can exchange experiences about which diaper brand is good! We have some similarities there.”

Hulkenberg was also asked how his chance at Haas had come about as he was given the nod to replace Mick Schumacher, a fellow German driver 12 years his junior, despite not having been a full-time racer since 2019.

“I think the last month it got more and more concrete and serious and I was getting more optimistic, confident that we can agree a deal,” said the former Williams, Sauber, Force India and Renault driver.

“It was good for me to have time away to digest, to reflect on some things, change your perspective a little bit too.

“Sometimes it’s difficult when you have to watch when you’re on the sidelines. This year, watching got a little harder, especially when you analyse and you see and you think you can do better in places, so I started the return project.”

Read more: Nico Hulkenberg was originally on Haas’ shortlist to replace Nikita Mazepin