Consistent Hulkenberg not losing sleep over elusive F1 podium
New Delhi: Force India`s Nico Hulkenberg, arguably the best driver yet to step on the Formula 1 podium in his fourth season, says he is not losing sleep over an elusive top three finish despite a series of missed opportunities and is confident of being there "one day".
The Force India driver is off to his best ever start to a season, holding off reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel for fifth place with 47 points from six rounds.
The German has scored 27 more points than his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, courtesy five top-six finishes but without a podium to go with it. Perez, on the other hand, got one opportunity to shine and he made the most of it with a third place in Bahrain.
"It is not bothering me to be honest. I am working hard to be there (on the podium) and it will come one day. Though Bahrain was definitely a missed opportunity," Hulkenberg told PTI from Montreal ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend.
The safety car put paid to Hulkenberg`s hopes at Sakhir and he ended up fifth in a thrilling night race. However, the most remembered "what if" moment of the 26-year-old`s career came in the 2012 season finale in Brazil, where he led a spectacular wet race before an error pushed him down to fifth.
The following season saw him move to Sauber and the "sought after" buy looked set for a breakthrough 2014 until uncertainty at Lotus made him opt for Force India.
The move back to Silverstone has surely proved right for the lanky driver with he and his Mercedes powered team scoring in all the races so far and Lotus having a tough time adjusting to the new regulations.
Asked whether choosing Force India was the correct decision in hindsight, Hulkenberg said, "It is not relevant anymore. I have spent most of my career with Force India therefore returning was like homecoming. I am happy and proud of the way the season is shaping up and the team is hungry for more success."
Hulkenberg demonstrated his highly rated skills on the punishing Monaco street circuit last month, coming home in fifth place after starting 11th on a track tough for overtaking.
Though he asked his team to improve the rear grip of VJM07 after the race, another strong result is on the cards for Force India at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
"I think the Canada track should be okay for us. It is one of my favourite grands prix, so I really look forward to this weekend ? the track, the city, everything is pretty cool," said Hulkenberg, who also has a couple of fourth place finishes in Formula 1.
Like him, the Vijay Mallya-led squad is enjoying its best ever start to a season and is currently fourth in the standings.
The team is planning a major upgrade by the time of the British Grand Prix to hold on to its position but Hulkenberg thinks retaining fourth will be a massive task.
"It will be tough even though we are heading in the right direction. There are upgrades planned but changes don`t happen overnight. As it is, it is still too early to predict anything."
He might not be sure about who is going to win the mid-field battle but says Mercedes are clear leaders at the top.
"Sebastian (Vettel) and Red Bull dominated the last four seasons and now it seems like the beginning of the Mercedes era. They have got the quickest car by some distance," said Hulkenberg of the team which has swept the season so far.