Nico Hülkenberg enters his eighth season in Formula 1 with high expectations and the will to succeed. Now, with one season under his belt at Enstone, The Hulk is raring to race around the picturesque Albert Park for the 2018 opener.
How is The Hulk feeling ahead of the 2018 season-opener?
I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to get the season underway. Australia is one of my favourite races because Melbourne is a great city, and the fans are always fantastic, knowledgeable, passionate for motorsport and know a lot about Formula 1. I really enjoy Melbourne as it’s a comfortable and very relaxed atmosphere there.
What do you like about the Albert Park circuit?
Albert Park itself is beautiful, especially in the morning when you see it’s packed with fans. The circuit is unique and packs a couple of challenges in places. Sector two is probably my favourite part, just after turns three and four as there is a quick right-hander, narrow on the exit and no run-off area, then the following right-hander is also bumpy on entry, underneath trees, with some nice kerbs. It’s a great track to race with some fast sections even though it’s a street course. It’s a good way to kick-off the season as everyone is pumped and very excited to get into the car and race.
Is your preparation different for this race given that it’s the first of the season?
We arrive there quite early to get acclimatised to the time change and the conditions. It’s been a long off-season, but now I’m ready and relishing getting out to Melbourne. Once you’re sat in the car, on the grid and watching the lights, it’s business as usual and I’m buzzing to experience that feeling again.
Do you head to Australia with confidence?
I feel positive. We’ve collected a lot of miles and data over winter testing which isn’t always the case, so that’s really beneficial to the team. I have a year’s worth of experience with the Renault family so that’s a good advantage for the first race. We’ve certainly made progress, not just over the whole of 2017 but also over the winter. We won’t know anything, or where we’re at exactly, until Saturday’s qualifying. I’m ready for that challenge and excited to get down to it and give it my all.