Schnitzels and strudels - Q&A with Nico Hülkenberg

A minor error proved costly for Nico Hülkenberg in Baku, but the German has set his sights on brushing that aside and going for glory in Austria…

Is Austria almost a second home race for you?
These days, Monaco is a home race for me as that’s the one where I stay at home for the race weekend but Austria definitely has a familiarity about it and it’s a very welcoming event. The atmosphere is very relaxed and lots of German fans make the short trip over the border so yes, it almost feels like a home race for me. I love racing in Spielberg especially with the backdrop to the track, with the Alps; it’s spectacular, and there is an old-school vibe to the circuit which I enjoy.

Do you enjoy the Austrian culture?
It’s mandatory to eat a schnitzel that is for sure! They come from Austria and I absolutely love schnitzels. I also recommend kaiserschmarrn; it’s a fantastic, Austrian dessert, I love it! Spielberg is in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t much around, just lots of fields and cows but also a lot of green which is very pretty and picturesque to see.

How’s the track to drive?
It’s a short track with not too many corners. It’s important not to get a false impression as it’s still very challenging and technical. It has a lot of elevation – up and down – and some tricky corners to match. On paper, it looks easy but actually to get a good lap time it isn’t so simple. It’s about balance, there are some medium speed corners so it will be important to find that and get a decent lap time. Last year was fantastic to be on the front row – I managed to string a good lap together in Q3. It was just a shame not to follow that up in the race!

How do you sum up Baku?
It was a difficult weekend. It was a crazy race; one of those you get every five years. During the red flag we were sixth, things were going well and we were making up places with people crashing, I was just trying to stay alive and out of trouble. Unfortunately, lap two after the red flag, I misjudged the turning into turn seven and hit the inside wall and broke the steering arm. That was the end of my race which was disappointing, we surely would have had a couple of points. That is racing, however, and we will regroup and go again in Austria.