Nico Hülkenberg hopeless for the F1 sprint in Austria: We are mercilessly behind

Nico Hülkenberg only starts from 17th place in the Formula 1 sprint. Teammate Magnussen clearly beats the German with 11th place. What was the problem?

Louis Budweg

Louis Budweg

Formula 1 Department

Formula 1 editor with a certain penchant for fitness, currywurst and the daily Mario Kart races in the office. MORE

Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg
For Nico Hülkenberg it was already over after SQ1, Photo: LAT Images

In the sprint qualifying in Austria, Nico Hülkenberg hardly has any light, but a lot of shadow. 17th place and Q1 exit for the German. Formula 1 teammate Kevin Magnussen just missed Q3. The prospects for the sprint are therefore bleak. Nico Hülkenberg only has hope for qualifying and the race. The sprint is over, at least 99 percent of the way through.

Hülkenberg: At war with the first sector

Hülkenberg lost the most time in the first sector. “We are at loggerheads with the first sector. That was the case now. There is a lack of harmony and consistency in the car,” the German told Sky Deutschland. “These sprint weekends are tough. Overall, it feels like you’ve hardly driven. And if it doesn’t work out, you’re behind.”

However, a driver can usually compensate for a weak sector with another. Only the Red Bull Ring has different rules because of its short distance. “But if you are behind in a sector on such a short lap, you can’t catch up,” says Hülkenberg.

The team is not allowed to make any major changes to the car until the sprint. Pace Ferme is the order of the day. The harmony-seeking Haas remains in need of harmony in the sprint.

“I have no expectations at all for the sprint. From P17 it will be a dull sprint. We would need muddy conditions like last year, dry-wet and then dry again,” says Hülkenberg.

Hope for qualifying and rules through new Parce Ferme rule

However, the rule changes to the Parc Ferme regulations on sprint weekends mean that there is at least hope for the main sessions of the weekend. After the sprint, the teams are allowed to work on the cars again and make major setup changes. That gives Hülkenberg hope.

“After the sprint we can work on the setup again and turn it around for the race and qualifying,” hopes the German.

© Motorsport Magazine


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