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Hulkenberg confident Haas can fight to be fifth-fastest team after ‘very encouraging’ P6 result at Silverstone

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Haas F1 team leaving the FIA garage

Nico Hulkenberg believes that Haas are now firmly in the battle to be the fifth-fastest team on the grid after another strong showing at the British Grand Prix, with the German bouncing back from a difficult start to cross the line in sixth place.

Having started the race from P6 – marking Haas’s strongest qualifying performance of the year so far – Hulkenberg lost places on the first lap when he had a slight off, resulting in him slipping down to ninth.

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However, the 36-year-old managed to recover positions as the race progressed amid changing conditions and was thrilled to claim sixth place for a second consecutive weekend.

“[I’m] very happy,” a smiling Hulkenberg said afterwards. “Eight more points on the board, super valuable. But, more importantly, the performance…. the performance is there with this update, and that makes me very happy and optimistic looking into the remainder of the season.

“I think we’re definitely in the fight now for the fifth-fastest team, which is obviously very positive, and nobody really expected [that] a couple of weeks ago. So, yeah, very encouraging and very positive.”

Hulkenberg thrilled with points and performance after P6 at Silverstone

Asked if he had felt the performance in the car as he fought back to claim the places he had earlier lost, Hulkenberg answered: “Yeah, it was a super tricky race, with the rain at the beginning but not enough to pit for inters.

“But really like a thriller to judge the grip level, not knowing what you get when you turn in. Around here with high-speed corners and the grip like this, it was Russian roulette in a way. But managed to stay clean and got back what we lost at the start so, yeah, well deserved.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Hamilton claims victory over Verstappen and Norris in wet/dry Silverstone classic

Hulkenberg’s eight points have brought Haas even closer to RB in the constructors’ battle for sixth, with the American outfit’s tally of 27 points only four behind their rival team’s total.

And while Haas boosted their score by taking home a double points result last time out in Austria, Kevin Magnussen missed out at Silverstone. The Dane – who had been running the older specification car without the new updates – struggled with tyre graining towards the end of the race and ended the event in P12.

“I think we pitted one lap too early,” Magnussen explained later on. “I was sort of within range of [Alex] Albon and he stayed out another lap I think and opened the gap massively, and on top of that the pace wasn’t really that good on the soft there at the end.

Magnussen reckons he pitted ‘one lap too early’ after missing out on points

“I just grained the tyre immediately and didn’t have a good stint. I think in all the mixed conditions on both inter and on the dry tyre in the wet-ish conditions, we were looking really good. So, yeah, just didn’t have what it took there at the end.”

Despite this, Magnussen acknowledged that the momentum Haas have been building appears to bode well for the next races on the calendar.

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“It’s great, I mean for Nico to score eight points again today is fantastic,” the 31-year-old commented. “That’s a really good couple of weekends for the team, so [it’s] opened the gap there to our competition and it’s super important.

“I wish I could have contributed a little bit, but I just didn’t have what it took there at the end.”

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