Nico Hulkenberg continues with the Sahara Force India team for a third consecutive season in 2016 as the new Formula 1 season gets underway this weekend in Australia.
The German is looking forward to getting out on track on Friday, and is eager to score points for a third consecutive season around the Albert Park circuit.
“Melbourne used to be my unlucky track, but I scored points in 2014 and 2015, so I think I’ve broken the curse!” said Hulkenberg. “I don’t know of anybody in the paddock who doesn’t enjoy this event.
“After the long winter you arrive in Melbourne and everybody is pumped and ready to get the season started. The weather is great, the city is cool and you get a lot of energy and positivity from the crowd and the buzz in the paddock.”
The German knows to be quick around the Melbourne circuit the car needs to be well balanced, with the second sector of the lap Hulkenberg’s particular favourite that is tricky to get right.
“Sector two is my highlight of the lap: you go from a slow chicane to a straight and into a fast left-right combination that is tricky to get right,” said Hulkenberg. “It’s a high-speed corner where you can make or lose a lot of time and it can set you up for a good overtaking spot on the approach to turn 13.
“To be quick at Albert Park you need a car that is well settled. It’s about braking late, using the kerbs and being precise. Tyre degradation is usually high so the new tyre rules could open up some different strategy options.”
Hulkenberg knows the opening round of the season can often throw up a surprise, and hopes to be in a position to have a good result should that happen this year.
“The opening race of the season often throws up surprises,” said Hulkenberg. “Anything can happen and we need to put ourselves in a position to make the best of any opportunity that comes our way.”