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Nico Hulkenberg Q&A: Tyre management will make the difference

19 Jul 2014

With both cars making the top ten on the German grid and the team renowned for race pace rather than qualifying speed, Force India are hoping for a strong result at Hockenheim on Sunday. For Nico Hulkenberg there is the added motivation of it being his home Grand Prix, but he knows that strategy will be just as important as outright performance…

Q: Nico, it’s been a tough qualifying with near tropical temperatures. How did you live through this hour?

Nico Hulkenerg: Well, we have been here since Thursday and it has been hot since then, so my guess is that we have all got used to that now. True, it’s a bit unusual to have these kinds of temperatures in Germany, but we have enough races that are pretty similar. Maybe the tyres will be a bit of an issue, but so far it has worked well.

Q: Force India were able to get both their cars into Q3 again. Will these positions last in the race?

NH: Well, we were pretty confident going into qualifying that we would make it into Q3 with both cars. Nicely enough I’ve been able to put my car on P9 on the grid - and that is a pretty cool result when looking at the cars that didn’t make it into Q3. In reality our car didn’t really shine on one-lap pace, so yes, I’m pretty satisfied with my afternoon. I was even one tenth faster in the middle sector by squeezing out everything I could from the tyres, but had to pay back in the last sector. Can P9 last? I think in the end we got the maximum out of our car and the tyres today, and it will be a long and demanding race tomorrow. This track here is quite exhausting, so let’s see who has found the best set-up and who will find the right strategy. For us I hope that we can keep up our trend of scoring points.

Q: Conditions are expected to change for the race, with cooler temperatures and even the chance of thunderstorms - is that something you hope for? Without rain there will be no surprises?

NH: I don’t know. Right now I’d say it wouldn’t help us. If it has been to our advantage on other occasions, it doesn’t automatically mean that this is always true. We’ve been pretty good in the long runs on Friday, which triggers the hope that we can do well on our own merits. But of course that might all change if we see some incidents in the early stage of the race - and then it might be a massively decisive factor.

Q: Your home race always provides extra motivation. Will you be able to climb the order and put in a real surprise?

NH: Of course a home race is special - and every driver is always doing that extra bit more. Of course I would love to climb the order and have a big points result. That, of course, would be a nice finish to my home race weekend. (laughs)

Q: What will be the trickiest part of tomorrow’s race?

NH: The answer sounds boring but here you go again: tyre management will make the difference tomorrow. We have usually done well this season, so there is no reason to believe we have lost that ability. Overall it is looking pretty encouraging for tomorrow, but don’t ask me about the podium - I don’t want to tempt fate! But I am sure that it will come one day.