Spain and Gain - Q&A with Nico Hülkenberg

Nico Hülkenberg is ready to dust himself down after his misfortune in Baku as he sets his sights on a better run at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the first European race of the season.

You must know the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya pretty well?
It’s a circuit all teams know really well as we rack up a huge number of laps there each year with winter testing. Engineers, as well as drivers, have a lot of data and knowledge about it, so we’ll be looking to maximise our pre-race preparations to hit the ground running on Friday. I like the layout, especially the first sector with turns 1-2-3, which are especially quick with the low downforce cars. It’s a physical circuit to navigate with a couple of high-speed right handers. It’s important to prepare the neck for this endurance challenge, and after the race you usually feel the aches and pains!

What are the secrets for a quick lap time?
The first few turns are almost like one big corner as turns 1-2-3 seem linked when at high-speed! You need to carry momentum through turns one and two, if you don’t, you will compromise the very fast turn three and be in trouble running into turn four. Sector two contains another very fast right-hander and a straight. Sector three is the most tight and technical of the three. It’s twisty and slow, especially through the last chicane, but we have to nail the apexes in order for a quick lap time.

Do you enjoy visiting Barcelona on the Grand Prix weekend?
Barcelona and the surrounding area is a cool place to visit. You get a sense of a proper Spanish vibe there as it’s by the sea with lots of good restaurants and places to chill out. It’s always one of the louder races of the year and there’s always a really good turnout of fans. That’s great to experience when we’re on track and I love the Spanish passion. It does mean, though, I have to leave for the circuit a little earlier in the morning to avoid the traffic!

How do you reflect on Baku?
We all have bad days. What happened was unfortunate, but that’s racing as the saying goes. It’s time to reset and refocus and look forward to Spain, where I want to make amends.