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The First Time - with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg

20 Mar 2014

Formula One drivers are among the most accomplished and skilled sports people on the planet, but how good are their memories? In the first of a new series that aims to help you get to know the world’s greatest drivers a little better, we asked Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg to think back and remember some of the ‘firsts’ in his life…

Who was your first hero when you were a child?

Nico Hulkenberg: Ayrton Senna

What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?

NH: That was when I went to Spa in 1998, when the big accident happened on Lap 1. Later in the race Schuey (Michael Schumacher) ran into the back of DC (David Coulthard) and eventually I think Damon Hill won in the Jordan. Quite an entertaining race. It was an awesome experience, one which I will never forget.

How old were you when you first decided you wanted to be an F1 driver?

NH: That was when I was seven, after I discovered karting.

When was your first big accident in a race car?

NH: That was quite early on during my time in karting. But I’ve never hurt myself badly.

What colour was your first helmet?

NH: Ah, that I do remember well - it was a bright yellow helmet which looked way too big from the outside. I looked a bit like a Martian with a yellow head!

When did you win your first trophy in racing and what did it look like?

NH: My first trophy came with my second kart race. It was only a small trophy, but I was still super proud and super happy about it.

What was the first road car you drove?

NH: That must have been my Mum´s Volkswagen Golf.

Where was the first house you lived in?

NH: My family’s house in my hometown of Emmerich. It’s where I was born.

How nervous were you on your first day of school?

NH: I don't remember that well, but of course I think I was a little nervous. But I got to school the same time as some friends, so it wasn´t too bad.

What was the first meal you ever cooked?

NH: I have no idea to be honest, most likely it was schupfnudeln (a type of German noodle dish) in a pan - easy to make for an ambitious young chef! (laughs)

What was the first thing you did this morning?

NH: Being plagued with jetlag, it was staring at the ceiling. Counting sheep was long gone!

What was the first thing you did after getting your first seat in F1?

NH: I immediately called my parents to tell them about it.

Q: What was the first pop record you bought?

NH: Well… I would say I bought it when I raced for the first time internationally in karting in Italy. It was in Corridonia. I was only a guest starter but I stuck it on pole and beat guys like Robert Kubica and the other Nico (Nico Rosberg), which was kind of pretty cool - and definitely worth a treat. It must have been something Italian…some tearjerker. (laughs)

What was the first sport you participated in as a kid?

NH: Football, but I had to surrender due to a lack of talent. It wasn´t going very well...

When was your first romantic kiss?

NH: When I was a teenager, about 17 years-old.

When was the first time you were asked to sign an autograph for a fan?

NH: Umm - that’s a difficult one. I’m not sure but it must go back to the start of my single-seater career, so around 2005 I would say.

When did you first taste champagne?

NH: I’ve got no memories of that as I don't like it.

Which would you eat first - a piece of fruit or a piece of chocolate?

NH: Chocolate - I have a sweet tooth.

What was the first word you said as a baby?

NH: I absolutely don't know, but my guess is it wasn’t ‘auto’! (laughs)