Nico Hülkenberg has described driving at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as “special” and “unique” ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The German has gone well in Belgium in the past with two fourth placed finishes in 2012 and 2016 and is unsurprisingly one of his favourites.
“Spa is up there as one of my favourite tracks in Formula 1 and one I always seem to go well at,” said Hülkenberg. “The track is located within some nice natural scenery in the middle of the forest, which can throw up some surprises, especially with the weather.
“Spa is notorious for its elevation changes and fast, sweeping corners. Driving at Spa is special, especially in a modern Formula 1 car, as it sticks to these flat-out corners at high-speed, it’s so unique and gives you a thrill.
“Eau Rouge is of course the corner that everyone talks about, but Pouhon and Blanchimont are also exciting and taken at very high-speed. Spa is really suited to my style of driving.”
Spa is the longest track on the Formula 1 calendar and Hülkenberg knows it’s very important, albeit difficult to get the balance of the car right for such a long lap.
“It’s the longest lap on the calendar with lots of corner combinations to tackle,” said the German. “Striking car balance can be difficult as you need high-downforce for some of the corners in the mid-section, while also shaving downforce to get the top-speed on the straights.
“It’s very important to get that right. You have to be on top in every corner around Spa, and string the sectors together. The middle part of the lap flows well, it’s quite busy, but it makes or breaks a lap-time.
“We’ll see what the weather will bring. It can be strange in Spa, one part of the circuit might be dry, while on another it could be torrential rain. Anything can happen and we’ll ensure to be in a position to capitalise on these chances.”
Hülkenberg was happy to have a summer break but knows his Renault Sport Formula One Team have to be right at it if they are to stay in fourth in the constructor’s championship.
“It was nice to kick back a bit and relax,” admitted Hülkenberg. “June and July were very busy with a lot of races and hard work, so it was nice to have a short break to recover some energy.
“We know we have to get back to it and set the tone straight away if we are to stay ahead of our midfield rivals. We’re well aware we have a battle on our hands, but I know the team are motivated to keep developing the car to find performance.
“They can be sure that I’ll be putting the effort in behind the wheel to deliver the results, there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, beginning in Belgium.”