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Hulkenberg encouraged by ‘strong’ Haas pace as he enjoys ‘fresh start’ to his comeback season in Jeddah

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Although he missed out on a points finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg was still left feeling positive about his and Haas’s race – describing the team’s pace compared to their midfield rivals as “the best news of the day”.

An action-packed encounter at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit ended with Hulkenberg in P12, just over five seconds away from the final point, which was instead picked up by team mate Kevin Magnussen – getting Haas off the mark for the season.

WINNERS AND LOSERS: Who thrived under the lights at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?

Given that Haas were next up behind the established top four outfits (namely Red Bull, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari) and the two Alpines, Hulkenberg took encouragement for future races, as the US-led operation look to build on their rise to eighth in last year’s constructors’ standings.

Reflecting on his evening behind the wheel, Hulkenberg commented: “It was a tough, challenging race, but I’m happy, actually, with P12.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 18: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari

Hulkenberg focused on the positives after a run to P12 on the streets of Jeddah

“I think a couple of things didn’t quite go to plan, but all in all we’re happy. The pace seemed strong and alright for us in the midfield, and that is the best news of the day.”

Hulkenberg was also keen to note that, after a compromised race at the Bahrain opener due to a first-lap collision, Sunday’s outing in Saudi Arabia marked his first in representative conditions this season.

READ MORE: Magnussen ‘really happy’ after last-gasp pass on Tsunoda clinches point at Jeddah

“Bahrain was very difficult to understand with the damage that I had. I think we kind of had to forget about it and regroup – so here was kind of a fresh start, race one for us,” he said.

“Like I said, [the] race circumstances didn’t all go our way, and made life a bit hard, but nevertheless I’m happy to come away with [P12], [and] very happy for the team that we got the first point, too, with Kevin.”

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