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Nico Hulkenberg Q&A: Reliability as important as speed

01 Mar 2014

Force India have had a very promising final test in Bahrain which has included three consecutive 100 lap days. They’ve also shown promising pace, although as Nico Hulkenberg explains, going fast isn’t necessarily the most important thing this season…

Q: Nico, how was your day today? Only one more and then you won’t run again until Melbourne…

Nico Hulkenberg: It was a good day. It was the third day in a row that we’ve done more than one hundred laps - and we hope that we can repeat that tomorrow. Touch wood! In the end, at this stage mileage is all that matters. The team has made a good progress - it was a significant change from where I left the car last week to where I jumped in today. You could clearly see that some work has been done - and completed! We were able to do a race simulation in the afternoon - and that went promisingly. So step-by-step we are ticking all the boxes and getting ready for Melbourne. Tomorrow we will look a bit more into performance.

Q: The wind was picking up today - was that difficult to handle?

NH: It was a bit tricky, yes. It was almost a bit of a sandstorm in some parts of the track - at one point there was even a bit of sand in your eyes. But that also can happen when we race here in about a month, so it’s better to deal with the conditions now than being surprised later! (laughs)

Q: When you say that you will be looking into performance tomorrow; when you look at the times of Massa and Rosberg today (Saturday), do you think you will come close?

NH: It will be difficult. Those times are very competitive.

Q: So what is your plan for tomorrow?

NH: We will do a qualifying simulation and another race simulation - and as I just said, looking for performance.

Q: Where would you rank Force India from what you’ve seen over the last three test days?

NH: Everybody asks for a crystal ball reading, but there is no such thing. Right now I don’t think it is really important to know what the pecking order looks like because my prediction is that everything we see now will not outlast the Melbourne race. So what is the plan for us? Do our homework and wait for the answer in Melbourne.

Q: If you compare the Force India to the Sauber of 2013 - is it a better car?

NH: There is no way of comparing last year’s car to this year’s. It is so different in any aspect that ever answer you get to such a question would be a lie. What is good with the Fore India is that we don’t seem to have many of the issues that others have - and that is something that money almost can’t buy right now!

Q: With the reliability the Force India has shown, do you think you can capitalise on that in the first four flyaway races whilst the others have to catch up?

NH: It is no secret that right now reliability is king. A fastest lap is worth nothing if you don’t finish the race. We have shown good reliability, but where it really counts is Melbourne. I hope that we can keep the level that we have now - then things should look good. But that is really something that is written in the stars. My prediction is that Melbourne will be one of the most interesting races in a long time that will eventually separate the wheat from the chaff - at least for the first four races.