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Hulkenberg ‘definitely in the fight for points’ as he credits Haas upgrades for P6 grid slot in Silverstone

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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 6: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Haas F1 team leaving the FIA garage

Nico Hulkenberg wound up the fastest Ferrari-powered car in qualifying for the 2024 British Grand Prix, finishing just ahead of the works Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in his newly-upgraded Haas VF-24 – and he praised the work the team had done.

There were nervous moments for the German driver in the first segment of qualifying, Hulkenberg having his rhythm upset in Q1 by a red flag for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez – who beached his RB20 in the Copse Corner gravel – leaving Hulkenberg with just one lap to move forward into the latter stages.

READ MORE: Russell beats Hamilton to pole at Silverstone as Norris completes all-British top three

From there, though, Hulkenberg was impeccable, as he wound up P6 on the grid for Haas’s best start of the year – and their best ever start at Silverstone.

“It’s okay!” was Hulkenberg’s modest verdict. “Last week we had one good one [his P9 in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix], one bad one [his P17 for the Sprint], this weekend one good one.

Hulkenberg credits Haas upgrades for impressive grid slot at Silverstone

“We just managed to take the momentum and the tailwind from last week into this weekend,” added Hulkenberg, who claimed P6 in the Austrian Grand Prix. “Plus I think the upgrades we produced yesterday afternoon in [Free Practice 2] did the rest and they really had an effect. I really felt a gain with them straight away, which was obviously very good and not always the case.

“So good job to the team and very happy about that. Quali was good; Q1 was a little bit too close for comfort with only one lap and the red flag with Checo [Perez] and our timing, we got a little out of sync with everyone else. That was a bit sketchy but otherwise a good clean session.”

READ MORE: Verstappen reveals extent of damage after Q1 off as Perez apologises for ‘letting my whole team down’

Asked if he was feeling especially confident behind the wheel of the VF-24 currently, Hulkenberg – who departs the team for Kick Sauber at the end of the year – replied: “To be honest, I feel a lot and good confidence, so that allows me to produce the laps. Even if I only have one, they come out pretty well, which is obviously good.

“I enjoy that feeling; I always try to hold onto it for as long as possible. I know it’s not always like that, so you have to use it while it lasts!”

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Looking ahead to Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Hulkenberg said his goal was to fight for points, even if he expected to cede position to the Ferraris behind him – Sainz in P7, while Charles Leclerc will start 11th after missing out on Q3 – and mainly fight with the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll (P8) and Fernando Alonso (P10).

FACTS AND STATS: Silverstone witnesses its first all-British top three in qualifying

“I think definitely that we should be able to fight for points,” he said. “Obviously we have the Astons there in the top 10, who probably is our main competition tomorrow. The Ferraris start behind, but I don’t see any scenario where we can keep them behind, because I think race pace wise, they still have quite a lot over us in hand. But points, definitely we’re in the fight for that.”

Meanwhile, team mate Kevin Magnussen found himself out in Q1 for the sixth consecutive time at Silverstone, the Dane retreating to the garage after overestimating the duration of a downpour that hit the circuit – but which dried up quickly after, with Magnussen set to start the race P17.

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