Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg has enjoyed a great start to the season after making a quite incredible bullet-dodge at the end of last year.
The German driver raced with Sauber last year, but was courted by Lotus after Kimi Raikkonen confirmed that he would be moving to Ferrari (a seat that Hulkenberg was actually offered, only to lose out to the Finn). After a difficult year with Sauber, Hulkenberg was seen as the obvious choice, only to lose out to Pastor Maldonado who – quite simply – brought more money to the table.
Hulkenberg has had the last laugh, though. After re-joining Force India, with whom he spent two years in 2011 and 2012, he has scored points in all four races so far this season whilst Lotus remain point-less.
“At the start of the year, the team said it wanted to improve on last year and so far it’s going according to plan,” he explained to The Economic Times. “We have 54 points from four races and we are third in the teams’ standings. Yes, there is a long way to go, but I believe we can keep up the momentum.”
Ever the nearlyman, Hulkenberg is yet to record his first podium finish in Formula 1. Although it is certainly a target for him, the main thing that he is focused on keeping up his point-scoring streak for as long as possible.
“It’s definitely the goal, but the most important thing is consistency over the year and to make sure we are scoring points at each race,” he said. “The factory is working hard to bring more performance to the car. We had some aero parts in Shanghai and the plan is for some more in Barcelona.”
Interestingly, it was not the first time that Hulkenberg’s talent had been rejected in favor of Maldonado’s millions. For the 2011 season, Williams opted to drop Hulkenberg in order to take on the Venezuelan driver, only for him to score just one point.