An elated Nico Hulkenberg has heralded his charge to fourth in the Korean Grand Prix as one of the best drives of his career so far, equalling his best-ever result in a grand prix as well as claiming Sauber’s best result of the season.
Having started seventh, Hulkenberg made a good start to lie fifth and lead a train of cars including Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber. Despite their best efforts, the German driver remained ahead until after the second safety car period. On the restart, he made good use of the Sauber’s strong straight line speed to overtake fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton before defending valiantly from the Mercedes in the eighteen laps that followed.
“Today I drove one of the best races in my career so far,” Hulkenberg said. “I have had cars in the mirrors before, but today there were a lot and it was a bit annoying. Lewis really put the pressure on at the end, especially in the last sector. I knew I needed to get out of turn one well. The car’s traction was very good today, so that kept me alive against Fernando and then Lewis later on.”
Sauber have endured a difficult season amid financial uncertainty, and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn made no secret of her happiness following the race.
“We went into the race with high expectations and it is a great feeling that we were able to meet these through our own strengths,” she said. “Nico put in a superb performance and, once again, great fight, as it definitely was not easy to keep those cars behind him.”
Esteban Gutierrez also equalled his best-ever result in Formula One down in eleventh, capping off a good weekend for the team.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).