Hulkenburg ignoring Ferrari rumors

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He was one of the stand-out performers during the 2012 Formula One season, excelling despite racing for midfield runners Force India, and had it not been for a collision with Lewis Hamilton, he may have claimed his first win at the Brazilian Grand Prix. It is therefore no wonder that Nico Hulkenberg is already being linked with both Ferrari and Red Bull for 2014, but the German driver has insisted he is focusing on his current duties with Sauber.

“I don’t talk about the contents of my contracts and, anyway, I haven’t even done a single race for Sauber yet.”

Hulkenberg did however acknowledge that being linked with two of the top teams was a great honor, but not enough to lure him away.

“I hear the speculation, and it’s even a form of recognition, but the whole thing leaves me completely untouched. It doesn’t mean I will go.

“I am concentrating completely on the coming season and, first of all, Melbourne.”

Hulkenberg shot to fame in many of the feeder championships, such as A1GP and GP2. He was given his F1 break in 2010, racing for Williams and he claimed an unlikely pole position at Interlagos that season. After a year of testing for Force India in 2011, he stepped up to a full time race seat last season before moving to Sauber for 2013. With both Felipe Massa and Mark Webber in the last year of their contracts, Hulkenberg could be subject to a bidding war at some point this season.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.