Nico Hulkenberg believes points are ‘realistic’ after ‘ass on bucket’ qualifying lap

Michelle Foster
Kevin Magnussen points something out to Nico Hulkenberg. Bahrain February 2023

Kevin Magnussen points something out to his Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg. Bahrain February 2023

Breaking into the top-ten in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix with an “ass on bucket” P5 lap time in Q2, Nico Hulkenberg believes points this Sunday are “realistic and possible”.

The Haas driver, back in a full-time F1 race-seat after three years filling a reserve driver role, will line up P10 on the Albert Park grid after an impressive performance in Saturday’s qualifying.

The German mixed it up with top-four teams on Saturday, fifth quickest in Q2 where he was ahead of the Mercedes team-mates.

However, he wasn’t able to continue that in Q3 as he had just one set of new tyres to use and admits he wasn’t able to repeat his stellar performance.

“Things didn’t go quite ideally then, but overall it was good today,” he said as per F1-Insider.

“Q2 in particular was very good: I couldn’t have put in better on the second lap there, it was really ass on bucket, squeezed the lemon properly.

“In Q3, unlike many others, I only had one new set of tyres and unfortunately I wasn’t able to fully reproduce the lap.

“It’s not always that easy to conjure up those laps and hit everything perfectly, especially on a high-speed street circuit like this. But nevertheless, Q3 again and a positive qualification.” recommends

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Sunday’s P10 start is the 35-year-old’s second of this season but while in Bahrain it all went wrong at the beginning of the race when his Haas suffered front wing damage, this Sunday he hopes to keep it clear and score his first points for his new team.

“We did a long run in FP3,” he said as per Sky Germany. “In general, the feeling is good. I always feel more comfortable in the car.

“This connection, this harmony comes more and more. The car does what I want and obeys. That’s always a good feeling. We are competitive, even in the race over several laps. Points are realistic and possible.

“I feel like I’m somewhere around 90 percent.”

Hulkenberg’s team-mate Kevin Magnussen will line up P14, the Dane unable to match his pace in Q2 where they were separated by seven-tenths of a second.

The German was asked about that.

“I don’t know what’s going on with Kevin, whether he had any problems,” he said. “The distance was unusually large.

“I know that I’m always strong and very fast over a lap. In a race you always need a bit of racing feeling and there are many factors that are constantly changing dynamically and you have to adapt quickly.

“But I’m on the right track, so far I’m quite satisfied. I’ve found a very good rhythm here in Melbourne.”