Formula 1

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s a fun track to drive”

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The Sahara Force India team had a disappointing Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago, with both drivers receiving penalties for causing collisions and finishing outside the top ten. Now, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez arrive in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend looking to fight for points.

Hulkenberg likens the Shanghai circuit to that of Malaysia two weeks ago, insisting it is a fun circuit to drive but difficult to get right. He admits his expectations are low heading into the weekend with the VJM08 as it is, but has some hope that he will be able to fight for at least some points.

“Shanghai is a cool place,” insisted Hulkenberg. “I always stay in the centre of the city and you can feel the buzz of the place. There is so much happening and everybody is very busy all the time.

“The track has a mix of everything – low, medium and high-speed corners, so it’s quite similar to Sepang with a big emphasis on aero performance. The quick corners are tough on the tyres and high degradation is a big factor in this race. The never-ending turn one also takes the life out of the tyres, especially the front left.

“It’s a fun track to drive and a challenge to get right. I’m not going there with any big expectations, but we’ve got to believe we can fight for some points. It wasn’t possible in Malaysia, but we certainly put up a good fight and will keep working hard. I think our performance level will be similar this weekend.”

Team-mate Perez is also looking forward to this weekend’s race, with the Mexican hoping for an improved performance from the VJM08 in Shanghai. He believes the team are heading in the right direction.

“I’m looking forward to this weekend and getting back in the car,” said Perez. “The first two races have not been the easiest for me, but as a team we’ve been fighting hard and doing all that we can to find more performance. We have lots of areas to improve, but it’s a long season and it feels like we are moving in the right direction.”

Perez has said that the Shanghai circuit has never been the luckiest circuit for him, with only one points finish in four attempts so far, but despite his lack of results, admits to enjoying the challenge of the track.

“Shanghai has never been the luckiest circuit for me,” said Perez. “It was only last year that I scored my first points there. It’s a track that I enjoy because of the unusual characteristics. Turn one is a real challenge, especially in qualifying because you need to carry so much speed into the corner, but it’s easy to run wide and lose a lot of time.

“The long back straight is also interesting because you get a lot of drag races. It’s where horsepower and top speed are important. Sometimes you see three cars wide and lots over overtaking into the hairpin. It’s definitely the best passing opportunity of the lap.”

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