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Nico Hulkenberg Q&A: We punched above our weight

25 May 2014

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg produced another impeccable drive in Monaco to record his sixth successive points finish, seeing off the challenge of the McLarens in the process. After the race the German spoke to reporters about his day, including that unbelievable move on Kevin Magnussen at Portier…

Q: Nico, P5 must be a very happy end to your Monaco weekend…

Nico Hulkenberg: Yes, it is really great. I would say that we definitely punched above our weight today. I think the McLarens were quite a bit faster, but you also have to be able to bring it home - and that’s exactly what we did. It definitely was a difficult race, so the position is an extra sweet reward for the team and me.

Q: Can you talk us through your race? You seemed to be involved in more battles than most…

NH: Yeah, it was really tough. On a couple of occasions half of me almost hit the wall, so I’m very happy being able to come home with ten points.

Q: What about your unbelievable move on Kevin Magnussen at Portier on lap 32?

NH: I grabbed my opportunity! I think he had to let the Toro Rosso pass as he overtook him during the safety car restart and that’s when he obviously lost momentum and I got the chance to stick my nose into Turn 8. Honestly I was not sure if it would work - I just tried it. My heart was racing at that very moment - I saw myself without a front wing! I think we briefly touched, but in the end I gained the place. Sometimes you have to take risks - calculated risks, not stupid risks. On a track like this where overtaking is almost impossible, this move was the icing on my cake this afternoon! (laughs)

Q: How much did it help you that on a street circuit pure speed is a bit of a secondary thing?

NH: Sure it helps. But don’t forget: this is Monaco. Here you always manoeuvre close to the wall - and in the end it is the same for everybody. And I think it is always easier having the speed but not fully having to use it then having to bank on the fact that speed is not so much of an issue.

Q: After Mercedes, Force India is proving itself the best Mercedes-powered team…

NH: Great isn’t it? We fended off the McLarens superbly in very tricky situations. My rear tyres almost disintegrated and I felt at times I was racing on metal on the back.

Q: The strategy calls today seemed to be just about perfect for you…

NH: Yes, indeed, but in the end there wasn’t much choice anyway - when the safety car came out you had to come in and put on the supersofts as staying out would have screwed your race.

Q: How does Monaco feel with these new generation cars?

NH: It was good - no big difference to the 2013 cars until the last 20 or so laps when my rear tyres gave up. So these new cars work well on any kind of track - and that is good news.

Q: Today’s result puts you in fifth in the drivers’ championship, above Sebastian Vettel. What is your goal for this season? Is it changing the more success you have?

NH: No, the goal hasn’t changed. I want to deliver good performances and races where you make the maximum from your possibilities - these are the races that really put a smile on your face. For me it could go on and on and on like this. Of course, we have to look not to stall in car development, as this is the second weekend we are racing with pretty much the same car, so updates are high on the agenda.

Q: What does it mean to you being one position ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship?

NH: That doesn’t mean much. I am just happy that I fully capitalised on my chances today - and to be honest Red Bull are not our competitors. This is only the sixth race and looking at the season they will move ahead, no matter what.

Q: The next race is Canada. What do you expect there?

NH: Canada should also work well for us - even if it is a completely different track. In fact, I think it should suit us even better than here as it is a straight line circuit. I hope it will be at least as good as it was here. I definitely want to keep the momentum.