Consistency key for Hulkenberg this season

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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.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.