Nico Hulkenberg will complete his third and final season with Sahara Force India F1 Team at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The German had a successful Brazilian Grand Prix, after he finished in seventh for the second consecutive time. A podium finish was on the cards for Hulkenberg, but it slipped out of his grasp when he was forced to pit whilst running fourth.
Kimi Raikkonen crashed out of the Grand Prix ahead of him, leaving debris on the track, and with bad weather conditions, Hulkenberg was unable to see the debris left by Raikkonen until the last minute, with the front wing of the Scuderia Ferrari hitting Hulkenberg’s own front wing. This damage also resulted in a puncture, meaning a trip to the pits was needed, but he was able to recover from the incident and drove well to finish in seventh.
This weekend will be Hulkenberg’s last Grand Prix with the Silverstone-based outfit, before he makes the switch to Renault Sport Formula 1 Team. Along with wanting this weekend’s Grand Prix to be a celebration, he wants to confirm fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“The final race of the season is always special, but this year even more so,” said Hulkenberg. “It will be my final race with the team, so it will be emotional to work with the crew and the other team members for one last time.
“People move around teams a lot in Formula One, so I know it’s a goodbye and not a farewell. I want to enjoy this last race together and make sure it turns into a celebration: I want us to confirm fourth place in the championship, then we will see a lot of big smiles on everyone’s faces and be proud of what we achieved together.”
In the past, Force India have had strong results at the Yas Marina Circuit. Last year, Sergio Perez finished in fifth, with Hulkenberg finishing in seventh. With this in mind, Hulkenberg is confident that the team can perform well again.
“Abu Dhabi is a very cool place,” added Hulkenberg. “You race into the sunset and it looks really cool when all the lights come on. It’s a unique experience.
“The wall feels very close and you always hold your breath every time you drive through that narrow exit! Looking at the track characteristics, Abu Dhabi should suit us really well.
“We had a few strong results in the last few years and I am confident we can get a good one this time around too. I would love nothing more than to sign off from the team in style.”