Nico Hulkenberg has always possessed an ability to deliver impressive speed over one lap. His recent qualifying statistics not only demonstrate a continued adeptness at maximising a Saturday afternoon, but they also make a case for rating Hulkenberg as one of Formula 1’s strongest qualifiers.
With the European season set to begin in earnest with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, teams will look to deliver their first major update package of the 2016 season. Force India have hinted that their car could look very different when it takes to the track in Barcelona, as the team are set to introduce significant changes to the VJM09, which has – up until now – proved a touch underwhelming.
Second chances are few and far between in F1. It is one of the most competitive environments in world sport, and with 1000’s of hungry young chargers vying for their shot at the big time, opportunities are few and far between, particularly when it comes to the sport’s premium seats. For Sergio Perez, his chance to shine came in 2013, when McLaren paired him with 2009 champion Jenson Button, following a breakthrough 2012 campaign where the 21 year-old Mexican claimed three podiums for Sauber. Ultimately, Perez fluffed his lines during his spell at Woking but so did his team.
Here’s why Sergio Perez deserves another shot with one of F1’s most illustrious squads.
Over the years, Force India have earned a seat at F1’s table for the underdogs. So often, the Silverstone based squad have turned a lightweight budget into welter-weight machinery over the winter, only to be reigned in by the opposition over the course of the year and 2014 was a clear example of this trait. Conversely, the start of the 2015 campaign was a tale of damage limitation while the engineers could paper over the cracks which formed as a result of a disjointed winter. As it has turned out, Force India have proven that they are just as good in defense as they are attack in the opening exchanges of a campaign.
The exclusivity of the “Triple Crown” means that it is not a prominent talking point in motorsport, despite its significance. Graham Hill remains the only man to have ever held the unofficial title, awarded for a driver taking victory in motorsport’s three most poignant events – the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Modern convention means that even the most talented drivers can only dream of winning the most coveted individual event in three separate series, however, Juan Pablo Montoya is a rare breed of driver. Perhaps this, combined with his remarkable talent, is why he has an opportunity to join the most exclusive of clubs.
Back in February, even the most optimistic of Force India fans were forced to temper their expectations for their team’s up-coming campaign. Following their lavish livery launch at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, the VJM08 was delayed, with the team announcing that a substantial upgrade package would arrive mid-season to compensate for a winter based on relocation. However, the team’s damage limitation exercise has proved to be a huge success, as they lie fifth in the constructors championship and look set to consolidate their position as the much anticipated aerodynamic overhaul arrives for the British Grand Prix.
It is no wonder, then, that Nico Hulkenberg is “looking forward” to sampling what the new and improved VJM08 has to offer.
The folk at Brackley are becoming showmen – as are the two pilots of the Mercedes cars. For a dominant team, they regularly provide mouthwatering entertainment and despite taking their nineteenth consecutive pole position and making it an entire calendar year of Saturday glory, Hamilton and Rosberg were at the heart of late drama in Spielberg. It was the former, who held on to claim his 45th career pole, yet more through luck than judgement, as he found himself heading backwards into the turn one run-off area, ruling himself out of contention to improve as the clock ticked down to zero in Q3. Moments later, Nico Rosberg also found himself on an off-road adventure and therefore, ended second best again.