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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg had to 'fuck with' Perez for best F1 result in five years

Nico Hulkenberg bagged sixth place in the Austrian Grand Prix - his best result since 2019.

Hulkenberg Austria
Article
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Nico Hulkenberg has described how he decided to "fuck with" Sergio Perez in the Austrian Grand Prix - for his best result since 2019. 

Hulkenberg finished sixth at the Red Bull Ring, finishing half-a-second clear of Perez, who was carrying a significant amount of damage to his Red Bull. 

Sixth was the German's best result in a race since he took fifth for Renault at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, with Kevin Magnussen's eighth place meaning 12 points was Haas's best team result in two years - since Mick Schumacher and Magnussen also finished six-eight in 2022.

Hulkenberg was promoted from seventh after Lando Norris's late retirement and felt it was important that the team was able to "pick up the pieces."

"Eight points and 12 in total [for the team], is very good obviously," Hulkenberg told media including RacingNews365.

"We didn't expect it and of course, it helps with two top cars being out so we have to be there to pick up the pieces, and we were with both cars. 

"It was a very intense race, especially at the end with Checo - I didn't expect to be able to keep him behind for so long.

"I said to myself: "Hopefully I can fuck with his tyres a little bit" and that is what happened - and with our good straight-line speed, I managed to keep my nose ahead. 

"It was super tight, and in the end, it was just survival, to try and stay in front, but it was good, hard, and fair racing."

Haas's turnaround

In 2023, Haas scored just 12 points all season - with its haul from Speilberg matching that in just one afternoon - with Hulkenberg now 12th in the Drivers' on 14 points. 

In the last eight races, he has finished 11th five times in addition to a points finish in China, and feels that the team has taken a good step forward from the struggle of last season - although it was not plain-sailing in Austria.

"I'm just doing my job to drive the car as hard as I can and we saw in the sprint, that from the bottom five teams, we were very competitive here and I tried to use that," he said.

"It is not just [this race], but if I look at the first 11, there are five times we finished 11th, fighting in and around the top 10 everywhere, both me and Kevin. 

"It is a testament to the hard work we did over the winter.

"I stepped into the car on Friday maybe on the wrong foot, it didn't feel right, I didn't have the rhythm and the confidence and it was awkward.

"A few details went wrong and we were just on the wrong side of it, and then managed to work my way in with the sprint and in qualifying from Q1 to Q2, I kept finding rhythm and harmony."

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