After finishing the season opening Australian Grand Prix a second shy of the points, Renault driver Nico Hülkenberg is determined to secure a higher placed finish in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit.
The Chinese GP is the first in this season’s first set of back to back events and the Hulk is confident that he can turn his fortunes around for the French based squad and deliver the results he was showing on a consistent basis with Force India last season.
What is your frame of mind heading to China and Shanghai?
I’m going to be pushing all the way for points. Australia was slightly frustrating as we could have done better with the pace we had in the car but traffic was an issue for most of the race. Our tyre strategy didn’t help us either. It looks like we’re in the midfield with some of our rivals slightly ahead, but certainly in reach, and Shanghai is a very different track from Albert Park, so let’s see what happens.
What’s your take on racing the Shanghai International Circuit?
The track is famous for the never-ending turn-one / turn two combination. It’s a tricky corner because it’s easy to go in too hot, especially during qualifying, and it’s a corner that eats the front-left tyre. This combination really sucks you in as the corner goes on a long time after a really fast entry, but you are shedding speed thereafter as it gets tighter and tighter in a corner that seems to go on forever before spitting you out into the downhill, tight turn three.
Historically, looking after the tyres has been hard work because turn 13 is another long right-hander that takes even more life out of them. The tyres and the cars are very different this year so we’ll have a lot to learn on Friday this year.
The rest of the lap has a bit of everything from low-speed to high-speed, which makes it challenging to find a balanced set-up. There’s a big long straight where you have enough time to complete your tax return and have an expresso as you’re going in straight line with your foot hard down for so long, then you wake up and you’re hard on the brakes. It’s really important to get your braking right there as it’s a pretty important corner.
What are your thoughts one race in with your new team?
I feel totally at home and I know we can deliver good things together. It’s clearly a big operation at the start of a long adventure and it’s great to be part of this. Everyone’s working hard together and I know we can achieve great things in the future.