Nico Hülkenberg: “I really like Bahrain and the atmosphere there”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Nico Hülkenberg is packing light thanks to the favourable forecast for Bahrain compared to the washout that was last week’s Chinese Grand Prix.

The sun may be shining and the beach a mere stroll away but Bahrain is far from a walk in the park with its encroaching sand and wind. But the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver is ready for whatever may be blown his way.

I’m heading to Bahrain with fewer winter clothes in my suitcase after the cold and wet we had in Shanghai; it should be a big contrast and I have my sunscreen at the ready!” he said.

In terms of the venue, the Bahrain International Circuit is a great facility and it’s quite a technical track with the added challenges of a variable wind direction and the scope for sand on track too. I really like Bahrain and the atmosphere there.”

The weather is far from the only opposing factor as the decreasing track temperatures play havoc on the levels of grip. Its hotter climate is at least tamed by the later start time.

It’s a technical track and you have to be smooth and gentle yet, obviously, as fast as possible,” he continued. “You’re always adapting to the grip levels as well as the wind direction, which can also present a challenge to getting the perfect lap.

“We know it’s going to be pretty hot, but that’s not so much of a factor now as we race far later than we used to here and it does cool reasonably quickly once the sun is down.”

Hülkenberg considers Bahrain to be a track where the increased tyre grip and their wider profile could prove most beneficial; the first corner is only manageable by losing 150mph, or 66.667m/s.

There’s a long straight with hard braking into turn one where you need to lose about 240kph and it’s easy to go too deep into the corner,” he added. “It’s pretty traction limited on exit so you’re fighting the rear end.

“It will be interesting to see how much difference there is with the new wider tyres and the greater downforce.”